Monthly Archives: June 2022

Failure to keep a promise

(Unusually, I’m posting this today and not on the first of July, as I’ll be travelling tomorrow with limited Internet access and no time to write).

As a child, I had already realised that I couldn’t achieve and have everything I wanted. Still, there are moments when this is not easy to accept; it has been a struggle whether or not to give up my promise of wearing blue and yellow clothes till the war in Ukraine ends.

When the first tanks rolled into Ukrainian land, I instantly decided to wear the colours of the Ukrainian flag as a show of support and solidarity. I thought that with the help of the international community, the war would end in less than three months. I was dead wrong.

However, this failure to keep a promise has been a source of new knowledge and self-discovery. I believe I have achieved my purpose. I was stopped by strangers and acquaintances if my wearing yellow and blue was to send a message or if it was pure chance. My family and friends were encouraging, whereas some people thought it was ridiculous and didn’t do anything for Ukraine. I beg to differ.

Today, I’ll revert to wearing other colours, but Ukraine and its people will always be in my thoughts. There are different ways to help: talk about the impact of wars and the interdependence of nations, donate money/goods/ services to Ukraine, and lobby governments and international organisations to help end this war and ensure that no country gets invaded. 

This is the summary of the above publication:

“This report comprises an independent inquiry into whether the Russian Federation bears State responsibility for breaches of the Genocide Convention in its invasion of Ukraine and concludes there are:  1) reasonable grounds to conclude Russia is responsible for (i) direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and (ii) a pattern of atrocities from which an inference of intent to destroy the Ukrainian national group in part can be drawn; and 2) the existence of a serious risk of genocide in Ukraine, triggering the legal obligation of all States to prevent genocide”.

The following paragraphs were taken verbatim from the 47-page report:

  • “Mass Killings. Investigations have determined that Russian forces have rounded up Ukrainian civilians for mass executions across occupied territory, marked by a pattern of common killing methods — hands tied, tortured, and shot in the head at close range. The well-documented Bucha massacre may indicate consistent tactics employed by Russian forces across currently inaccessible occupied areas. The number of mass graves in Russian-controlled areas are (sic) rapidly expanding, as documented by investigators and satellite imagery, though the full extent of the killing will not be known until access to sites controlled by Russian forces is secured”.
  • “Deliberate Attacks on Shelters, Evacuation Routes, and Humanitarian Corridors. Russian forces are systematically attacking shelters and evacuation routes with precision, indicating military policy, killing and trapping civilians in besieged or conflict areas”.
  • “Destruction and Seizure of Necessities, Humanitarian Aid, and Grain. Russian forces have destroyed and seized vast stores of grain, including expropriating hundreds of thousands of tons to Russia, and repeatedly blocked or seized humanitarian aid or workers seeking to evacuate civilians, using starvation as a weapon of war”. 
  • “Rape and Sexual Violence. Reports of sexual violence and rape in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine suggest a widespread and systematic pattern, including gang rape, rape in homes or shelters, rape of parents in front of children and vice versa”.
  • “Forcible Transfer of Ukrainians. Russia has reported the relocation of over one million people from Ukraine to Russia since the invasion began, including over 180,000 children. Refugees and officials have reported being transferred by force or threat of force. According to Ukrainian officials, Russian legislation is being reformed to expedite the adoption of children from the Donbas, while Ukrainian children forcibly sent to Russia are forced to take Russian classes. The forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia is a genocidal act under Art. II (e) of the Genocide Convention”.

The media have reported that this week’s Russia’s bombing of a crowded shopping centre in Kremenchuk killed 18 and injured 60 people.

Compliments and the magic phrase

Has your supervisor said to you, “Well done”, “Fantastic work”, or “Keep up the good work”? What did you say in return?

A mere “Thank you” – the magic phrase –  is enough to show that we appreciate the compliment. Complimenting is not and should not be a one-way street. Some employees complain that their managers do not praise them, but do these staff members give their bosses compliments?

These are some compliments I have heard and read:

You are really good at what you do.

We appreciate your optimism and “can do” attitude.

We enjoyed your contribution during the staff meeting.

You gave an excellent presentation.

You are an indispensable member of our team.

You are a reliable boss.

You are a considerate supervisor.

You are a dedicated employee.

You always perform well, even under pressure.

I enjoy working with you.

Some people find it easier to give than receive compliments. Last year, a French friend commented: “I can’t believe it; I read a novel in English, the first novel in English. It took me only two weeks. You’re a great storyteller”. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “It was a six-month COVID lockdown manuscript. I could have written it better”. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, but I put myself down with that response. I should have simply told her that I appreciated her compliment. After all, didn’t I deserve it?

Being suspicious about a compliment is unproductive and causes misunderstanding. Meanwhile, if insecure and devilish humans give you insincere compliments (bordering sarcasm), be upfront and ask them what they really want to discuss with you.

Three weeks ago, I received a text from someone I didn’t know personally, who is in our Whatsapp Ex-UQ/Bne Lunch Grp, that he had bought a copy of my latest book English Language Lovers and would submit an Amazon review. Many authors find this revelation “not a biggy”, but it’s for me. I consider this a compliment, so I thanked him right away.  

I don’t know about you, but I like giving and receiving compliments when they are due because they make people feel good. A compliment can brighten a day, motivate, and instil confidence and trust. During my lessons and encounters with new acquaintances, I use compliments to break the ice. These are sincere compliments and not done haphazardly. Fake compliments are easy to spot.

Often, I get positive responses to my compliments: “Thanks, that’s nice of you. You came up with helpful ideas, too”; “Thanks, that’s kind of you”; “Thanks for noticing it”; “Thanks for liking it”; and “I appreciate that, have a nice day”.

Let’s continue giving and receiving sincere compliments; these are free and improve performance and relationships.