Do We Really Reap What We Sow?

Many of Us Would Argue Not

Much of human behaviour in this world is predicated on one of the maxims we all know: “You reap what you sow”. This is a saying which drives many people’s consciences and troubles others only after they have “sowed” whatever they suspect will eventually come to be their comeuppance. To many it is a rule to live by, to others a meaningless piece of cod philosophy that simply guilt-trips those who are naïve enough to believe it. Is a maxim of any value if only half of the world seems to believe it? Or should we all look out for number one and happily allow other people to take what life throws at them – potentially as a consequence of our actions?

Karma is an interesting thing. We can probably all think of at least one individual who has, as a result of at best questionable actions, risen to a position of privilege on one level or another. They may head up a major corporation and be able to write their own pay checks as they see fit. They may be extremely sought-after romantically. One way or another, there are people benefiting from not following the standard rules of morality. Do they reap what they sow? Many of us would argue not.

It hardly sets a good example. We will, if we have a commitment to bringing the best out of those we influence, try to promote a message of good actions bringing forth good rewards. Then we let our protégé see a world where people who lie, cheat and bend the rules non-stop are rewarded with money, prestige and often influence. How can they possibly marry the advice we give with the picture they see? The only conclusion they can have is that some people are not living by the rules.

How do we then make a lesson from that, for ourselves and for others? How do we say that the people who ignore the rules of common decency are not a model to be followed? It is a very difficult question to answer, and one which gives parents, teachers and other concerned individuals a few sleepless nights. If we have a belief in an afterlife, we can say that these people will eventually pay for their sins – but we cannot see the afterlife and we cannot see that they are going to be any more troubled then than now.

Therefore, it really comes down to a message that is perhaps more complicated than “we reap what we sow”. We should behave decently to other people because there is much more chance that people will remember what we did wrong than what we did right. We should behave decently to others because, if we have a conscience, eventually a transgression will turn into a sleepless night. But more than this, we should behave decently to others because it is the right way to behave, and in the end we have to face the world with confidence that we did the right thing – even when evidence suggested that the wrong thing may have had greater material benefit to us.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com. This article originally published on the above website on Oct 12, 2009.

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 6

Going Back in Time: 1850 - Sovereign Hill Gold Mine in Ballarat

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 3

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 4

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 5

One of the attractions in Melbourne you must visit is the Sovereign Hill Gold Mine in the suburb of Ballarat. A small city from the 1850 gold rush in Australia is preserved as it was back in those days. You will be able to go back in time and experience a gold mine city.

Visiting the whole city would take a full day, so I rushed to finish everything as fast as I could. Some of the places you can experience in Sovereign Hill as they were in the past are:

- A real underground gold mine and the ability to ride a real mine tram

- Original working conditions and mining equipment

- A real gold melt & pour to make a $100,000 gold bar

- Blacksmiths and traditional craftsmen

- Bakery, bank, blacksmith, post office, grocer, tentmaker, tinsmith, bank, post office, candle-dipping shop, lolly shop, stables, nine-pin bowling saloon, library and various other shops on the main street

- Houses, tents, water well, and gardens from the old days

- 1850s-style hotels, schools and a theatre with goldfields entertainers

- a gold museum is also located right across from the front exit

I spent my whole day videoing as much as possible at Sovereign Hill and will post these on You Tube.

Chasing Kangaroos at the Lysterfield Lake Park

Going to Australia without seeing kangaroos is like going to Egypt without visiting the pyramids. I encountered my first kangaroo sighting in the Lysterfield Lake Park, which is located in the greater Melbourne area.

There are 60+ different species of kangaroos. Some of them are big and some of them are small. The ones I was chasing in the park to take pictures and videos are the small ones. They wouldn’t let me get very close. I saw some of them carrying babies in the pouch located on their bellies.

Positive Signs In Canadian Economy – But A Long Way Still To Go

Financial Crisis and Canadian Economy

First Published: April 1, 2009

As people hang on for news that the financial world is lifting itself from its sickbed and preparing to walk again, any little bit of good news is likely to be taken as an encouraging sign that the end may be in sight. There are timely warnings, then, attached to the news that Toronto and Ontario have both reported rises in the rate of inflation for February. As both cities saw a rise of 0.1% from January’s rates, and Canada in general leaped by 0.3%, and the stock market rose for an eighth consecutive day, there may well be some desire to crack open a bottle of moderately-priced champagne – but this should be initially resisted, say experts. The inflation rate is predicted to fall in the coming months as more factors come into play.

The markets and the prices will continue to be watched in the months to come, as the world watches America for signs that things are improving there. Like the British government a few weeks ago, the US administration has taken its first steps toward quantitative easing by announcing a plan to buy up US$300bn in treasury bills. The danger inherent in this is that it can cause inflation to rise too quickly, and the Canadian government is expected to hold off on any quantitative easing at least for the present, preferring to keep a close eye on the economy and put in place prudent measures such as purchasing commercial paper in a bit to stimulate business lending.

While any signs of stirring in the economy are certainly to be welcomed, the fact of the matter is that nothing can presently be said to be happening that is a definitive “beginning of the end” of the financial turmoil, even in a Canada that has been applauded for its sound handling of the crisis. As a newly-installed President is finding out south of the border, people are tending to be skeptical of any financial stimulus plans, preferring to wait until the evidence of their own eyes gives them permission to get excited. The overall message is still that this is not a crisis which will recede overnight, and that we may well be looking at something that takes years to finally be over.

For the present, it seems that all that the consumer can to is continue to spend wisely, save assiduously and wait things out. The thing that is sticking in everyone’s mind, no matter which nation they live in, is that nobody can really say they have a definitive way to cure the crisis. If they did, it would already be in place. Patience is going to be the key, in Canada as much as everywhere else, and this is one case where no-one can predict with absolute certainty what will happen tomorrow, next week or next month. Amid all that, who’d be a President?

Fez: The Soul of Morocco

Fez Travel Guide

Chances are you have probably not heard of Fez, the third largest city in Morocco. It is often overshadowed by its larger cousin; Casablanca. However, Fez is a city that should be on your map when you are traveling to Morocco, because it offers you some amazing sights that you may not see if you choose to bypass the city.

Fez has a population of roughly one million, putting it behind Casablanca and Rabat in terms of size. However, it is actually the former capital of Morocco and is considered to be one of the four imperial cities within the country. Fez is the oldest Islamic city in the world.

Located in the northern end of Morocco is houses some of the most important places in the world. First, there is Fes el Bali, which is possibly the largest medina, or outdoor market, in the world. It is also believed to be the largest contiguous car-free urban area on the planet. There is also the University of Al-Karaouine, which was founded in 859 AD, making it the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.

Fez is located along the majestic Atlas Mountains, giving it a very seasonal climate. Winters are cool, while hot days fill the summer months from July to September.

As time goes on, Fez is becoming a tourist destination for many who visit Morocco. This is causing a resurgence for the city with non-Moroccans restoring the houses in the city as second homes.

If you are in Fez, check out the Merenid Tombs, which are next to the Merenid Hotel. The view you get from the tombs is astounding, giving you panoramic views of the medina and the city. You will even be able to see the olive trees that line the hills surrounding the city. You can also go to the Sofitel Palais Jamai Terrace, which gives you another great view of the medina as long as you buy a glass of tea while you there, which is essentially the cost of admission.

There are many world-class restaurants within Fez, and you will be able to stay in a wide variety of hotels from the very cheap to the luxurious.

It is important to note that since Fez is in Africa, there is often a misconception that it will be a dangerous place. Morocco is not only one of the most progressive African countries, but it is also the safest. Fez is very crowded but very safe. However, you should keep an eye on your purse or wallet because pick pockets are around, and they essentially make up the worst of the crime in the area. Con-artists can also be a problem, so just stay smart and stay safe and you will not have a problem. Even false guides will lead you astray but they are not dangerous, just a nuisance when they ask for money.

Fez is a beautiful city, and one you should not ignore in your travels of Morocco. It will leave you breathless with its beauty, culture, history and friendly people.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on Aug 28, 2010.

New Body Launched to Help Canadians in Financial Crisis

The Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services Begins Its Journey

First Published: April 5, 2009

The credit crisis has bitten deep in many countries the world over. Perhaps as a result of the many alerts that have been sounded worldwide in the last few years, it had seemed like people were taking a rather skeptical view of this crisis. When you take into account that the Y2K bug never really stung – or at least planes did not fall from the sky and in fact the world kept operating much as it had before – and that although bird flu claimed more lives than one would have hoped, it never really reared up into the crisis it may have been, it is easy to see why there were people who brushed off the idea of the credit crunch. But it is here, and it is very real.

More and more Canadians are now having to admit that they are being sucked into the trouble that the crisis has caused. People are losing their jobs and their homes, and as a consequence there is a very real human cost to all of this. Although Canada was one of the last countries to submit to the global credit crisis, it has certainly succumbed to some extent, and the people being affected range from the high earners to the low-paid. Although the sound financial policies practised more widely in Canada than almost anywhere else mean that we will be one of the first countries to recover, that may be a while off yet. In the meantime it is essential that there are people out there to provide help for those who are at the mercy of the credit crunch, and that is why people should be relieved at the founding of the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services (CACCS).

Credit counselling is a vitally important step in putting people on the right footing to deal with this crisis. The existence of paid-for debt counselling is something that is really not helping the current situation, and if you have been considering putting your debt matters in the hands of a company who promise to get your finances sorted out “for a small monthly fee”, please reconsider. If anyone says that you paying them to fix things will help you out of debt, then they are lying to you. There are services who will do the same thing free of charge, and they are generally far better qualified than the fly-by-night profit-based debt management companies.

CACCS are dedicated to providing an umbrella under which the not-for-profit credit counselling services can operate, and raising awareness of the services they provide. If you think about it, the profit-making companies who purport to offer the same service are going to have less incentive to get you out of debt – because the longer you are paying them to “sort things out”, the better for their profit margin. If you are working with one of those organizations, take the first steps towards kicking them into the long grass today and contact CACCS at their website (