Being Bullied & Teased

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I’d think twice if I were you. I would guess that most of us have heard or used this phrase. Unfortunately, some of us don’t think twice when it comes to poking emotional or physical jabs at others. Being harassed – that’s exactly what I think being bullied or teased constitutes – by words or bodily contact is wrong.

Being bullied or teased is wrong. We hear a lot about it in the news these days, especially because of the ease in which social media can be misused to harm others. From personal experience, I know what it feels like - I was teased at school because I was an overweight kid. My friends nicknamed me 'fatty' and I felt tormented. Thankfully, I'm empathetic to those who go through similar hardships. I hope that others can benefit from my experience.

 

In my third e-book, 'Minjy the Robot - A Pirate's Life', the topics of being bullied and teased are addressed. Below are a couple of sample readings. In the first, as Babs and Armie share friendly dinner conversation, she describes being teased about her name by the kids at school. In the second reading, Babs and her long-time friend, Redley, remember helping each other as they were being made fun of - Babs because of her name, and Redley because of his shorter height.

 

Happy reading! 

Meanwhile as Cheddi continued driving back to his father’s store, Babs sat at Fish Your Wish enjoying the company of her new friend. She still had difficulty with his name – Francis Armstrong.

“I’ve never heard of such a thing! You gotta be kidding me. You mean to tell me that your parents actually named a big man like you Francis? Why don’t you just tell me your real name?” asked Babs, with a smile on her face.

“I’m not kidding,” he replied. “My real name is Francis. But don’t worry as I get the same reaction every time. Most people don’t expect a man like me to have a name like Francis. Even more so, most people don’t even know that Francis is both a man’s and woman’s name.     

“I met a guy not long ago – his name was Nash. He was a real character and we had the same conversation about my name. I’ll tell you the same thing I told him. My name is Francis Armstrong and my friends call me ‘Armie’. Why don’t you do the same? And besides, who are you to talk with a name like Babs? What kind of a parent names their kid Babs? That can’t be your real name.”

“Well,” said Babs, “you’re right and it isn’t Babs. My name is Barbara Chatsworth. When I was a little girl the kids at school use to make fun of my name. They thought that only old ladies were named Barbara.

“I use to get teased, especially by the boys, and I ended up in a lot of fights. It really upset me getting teased like that. It hurt my feelings – do you know what I mean? Every time I asked them to stop they wouldn’t. They were very cruel. I ended up fighting with the boys and needless to say I got into trouble with the teachers.

“Even though it wasn’t my fault, everyone thought I was bad and a trouble maker. It stayed with me throughout my school years. No one understood how painful it was to be teased, and once the teasing started it didn’t stop.

“Eventually I was the victim of bullying. It was absolutely horrible and no one understood. It’s sad that it turned out that way and it forced me to drop out of school. I tried my best to stick up for myself but it was so difficult. Even sadder is that hardly anyone offered to help me.

“Teasing and bullying are wrong and should never be tolerated!

“It still continues to be a very serious problem for kids today. Fortunately, now there is more awareness about teasing and bullying. It’s out in the open and discussed in school, on social media, and on television. Nowadays if kids get teased and bullied they aren’t as reluctant to speak up and to let their parents and teachers know. I wish it would have been like that when I was in school. Back then I felt so alone and with practically no one to turn to.” 

“That’s a very sad story and I’m sorry to hear that you were teased like that. I guess I had it easier, especially because I was so big and tall. People would think twice before trying to tease me,” said Armie.

* * * *

Redley made his way to the restaurant’s bar section and sat down for a moment.

“Hi, Babs, we will be closing soon,” said Redley in a friendly tone of voice, “and if there’s anything else I can bring you then please let me know.”

“Thank you, Redley,” replied Babs, “you’re the nicest man in all of Port Marcia. You’ve always been so good to me and you are a true friend.”

“Thanks, Babs,” said Redley. “I always remember how kind you were to me when I first arrived in Port Marcia. I know we were both a lot younger at the time. You knew how kids could behave, or should I say misbehave, to someone who was new at their school.

“When the other kids teased me because I was short, you were the only one who stood up for me. You defended me when they called me bad names. You tried to explain to them that it didn’t matter if someone was short or tall, or skinny or fat, or whatever the case may be. You told them that it was wrong to make hurtful comments about a person’s appearance.

“Babs, it’s because of you that they didn’t tease me as much. You taught them right from wrong, and you helped me even though I was the new kid in school and you didn’t know me. I’ll always remember that.”

“Redley, you’re so kind,” responded Babs. “May I remind you that you were also very kind to me when we first met at school? When I introduced myself and told you that my name was Barbara, you said that it was a beautiful name.

“When all of the other kids called me Babs just to make fun of my name, you were the only one who did not. You also stood up for me, told them to stop teasing me, and told them to call me Barbara. While they didn’t listen to you, it meant so much to me that you tried to help.

“Do you remember that you use to call me ‘beautiful Barbara’ in front of all of the other kids? You really set an example of how to be kind to others. You were a true gentleman back then and you haven’t changed a bit in all these years.

“Redley, you may be short on the outside, but you’re a giant on the inside.”

“Thank you, Babs, or should I say, beautiful Barbara? Now if you will please excuse me, I’m going to see how things are doing in the kitchen. I hired a new dishwasher last week. He’s new in town and learning to clean the plates. I want to make sure he’s doing okay. Have a good evening, beautiful Barbara,” said Redley.

Babs smiled as Redley walked away.

- Minjy the Robot – A Pirate’s Life

Eating Disorders

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Eating. Whether we eat too much or too little, the result can be problematic. It is commonly referred to as an ‘eating disorder’, and this topic is addressed in my first e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot’. The above character - Iga - has personality traits that developed in her childhood and have influenced her behavior as an adult. Specifically, she is overweight. Iga is friendly, productive and well-functioning, yet her choice of an unhealthy eating lifestyle has, in some ways, negatively affected her interaction with others. Below is a sample of the e-book.

Happy reading!

It took only a short time for Minjy to find a new taskmaster to replace Julien. Her name was Iga, and she was plump and looked jolly.

Iga was quite smart and loved to eat. She had been this way since she was a child, and whether it was at home or in school, she had a passion for books and food. Iga was friendly, had many friends, and her teachers were pleased with her good grades. She came from a happy home, and her parents lovingly cared for her and her many brothers and sisters.

Growing children always seemed to be hungry, and this was especially true about Iga. Her parents worked very hard to provide enough food and clothing for their kids. Yet times weren’t always good, and the supply of food on stores shelves couldn’t keep up with the demand. Her siblings didn’t seem to mind having less to eat, but Iga did.

Although her parents never told their children that groceries were becoming harder to find, Iga sensed this immediately. As a result, her mealtime behavior became aggressive. She’d be the first of the children to be seated for breakfast and dinner – lunch was at school – and the first to eat the food on the table. At times she was called out on this by the other kids, and reminded by her parents about the importance of sharing and having good table manners. Iga was clever and would draw attention to other topics, telling everyone about what she had learned at school. She did, however, resort to sneaking more than her fair share of food and grew suspicious of being tattled on by her siblings. Iga began to distrust them and got into the habit of whispering with one so others would not know her affairs.

Iga grew, as did her appetite for food and learning. While her friends were interested in things like sports, dance, and fitness, Iga was content to read and to snack. A lack of plenty as a child made her very competitive as an adult. She matured into an educated, capable woman and managed everything well – except for her weight. Iga always found it easy to find work and she was very good at whatever she did. While being friendly and quite social with people, a nagging distrust of others lurked in the back of her mind.    

Minjy immediately knew that Iga was the right taskmaster for the job. She always seemed to be snacking, even when she was working. Yet she followed orders well and did everything she was told to do, as long as it didn’t stop her from eating.

- Minjy the Robot

Indifference

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Indifference. Perhaps you’ve heard or seen something ‘offensive’ and chose to let it pass. You had the opportunity to speak up or intervene, but remained silent or decided not to get involved. Let me be clear. By offensive, I mean, for example, a hateful comment or an act of violence, to name just two of many. Is it morally wrong to do nothing? Yes, I think so. Is it a civic duty to help a person(s) in distress? Yes, it is. In fact, in many jurisdictions it’s the law. There’s a word for this inaction: indifference. It can occur among individuals, a group of people, or the society that we live in. Indifference to wrongdoing - choosing to say or do nothing - can be the beginning of the end of what is good and just. History has witnessed this truth. In my second e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot Returns’, the main character - Minjy - experiences indifference and the harm that is causes. Here is a sample from the story.

Happy reading!

Chapter 24

 

There was an announcement over the clinic’s speaker system.

 

“Attention please, we kindly request that Robot return to the main office, thank you,” announced an office staff member.

 

The driver from ‘ShipIt Express’ arrived at the clinic to deliver the new Robot-Matic Deluxe robot and pick up the one that was being returned. Both Julien and Jen were in the main office assisting the driver with the drop off and pick up.

 

The driver said that he was in a hurry as he still had many deliveries to make before the end of the day. He asked politely if the robot was ready for pick up. Jen instructed several staff members to look for the robot and bring it back to the office.

 

“It will only be a few minutes, sir. I’ve sent my staff to get the robot,” said Jen to the driver.

“Where can that robot possibly be? It is usually very good at responding to commands,” thought Jen.

 

As the driver waited outside the office, he noticed Minjy at the other end of the hall. It seemed to him that she wasn’t coming towards the office, but rather, was going the opposite way. The driver was growing increasingly impatient and he decided to walk down the hall to try and bring Minjy back to the office.

 

The driver didn’t realize how quickly she was moving and how far down the hall she actually was. He was beginning to lose sight of Minjy and started to chase after her. As he got closer he began to shout.

 

“Hey, stop! Robot, get over here now!”

 

The driver was a large man, and his uniform and cap were black. He looked more like a police officer than a driver. His shouting frightened Minjy, and when she turned around to see who was yelling at her, she became petrified. Minjy didn’t know who this man was or what to make of him. Her mind began to race. Minjy thought that she was in trouble for something that she may have done wrong.

 

Minjy moved away quickly and sped down the hall trying to flee from the driver. Just as Minjy reached the end of the hall and turned the corner, there were several staff members approaching and asking her to stop. At this point Minjy was so scared that her mind was one big blur. Her only instinct was to escape.

 

Minjy was very upset by what was happening and didn’t notice that the red light on her front was flashing.

 

Minjy knew the layout of the clinic really well and quickly turned another corner. She headed down a corridor towards Miss Wong’s room. The driver and the staff managed to keep up with Minjy and were in hot pursuit.

 

As Minjy continued to race down the hall she did not notice a medication cart that had rolled into the middle of the hall. Minjy tripped over the cart and fell to the floor. The driver and the staff caught up with Minjy and surrounded her. Then the driver tried to grab Minjy’s arm.

 

Minjy was terrified. The red light on her front was flashing rapidly and she began to cry and to scream, saying, “Don’t touch me! Get away from me! Someone help me, please! I’m being attacked! Help, help!”

 

The staff stood and watched in silence as the driver hovered over Minjy and kept trying to grab her arm. They offered no help to her, and they didn’t know what to make of Minjy’s flashing red light.

 

Minjy was frantic.

 

Suddenly her mind was taken back in time to when she was at the workshop and watching Julien suffer at the hands of Nash. Minjy recalled that she said nothing back then. She just stood and watched and offered no help to Julien. Minjy now realized how Julien must have felt and how cruel and heartless she had behaved.

 

Minjy managed to get away from the driver by kicking his leg. She bolted past the staff and fled down the hall. Minjy sensed that she was in deep trouble and told herself to go to Miss Wong. She finally reached Miss Wong’s room, went inside, and quickly shut the door.

 

Miss Wong was sitting comfortably in her chair and became startled by Minjy’s hasty entrance.

 

“Minjy, dear, you’ve frightened me,” said Miss Wong. “What is going on? Oh no! Why is your light flashing bright red? What’s happened?”

 

- Minjy the Robot Returns

"So, where are you from?"

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One of the most frequently asked questions, especially when we’re away from home, might well be, “So, where are you from?”

 

Why is it that where we're from is such a popular topic of conversation?

 

The fact of the matter is that some of us are from the same place, and some of us are not. I guess that’s because as old as the world is, people have been moving from one place to another - it’s a natural and constant phenomenon. Wherever we may happen to come from, when we live together we are neighbors, and we should all do our parts to be good neighbors. People should always be treated with kindness, compassion, and when needed, a helping hand. 

 

In my first e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot’, both Minjy and Nash have moved from one place to another. In Nash's case, his upbringing in a fictional land has, due to his own misconceptions and personality traits, adversely affected his behavior - he is selfish and mean-spirited. Unfortunately, Nash does not embody the good neighbor principle.

 

Below is a sample of the story.

Happy Reading!

Nash was from a land known for its scenic nature and prosperity. It had four seasons, and each was filled with its unique beauty. It was a wonderful place to live, and in addition to its breathtaking surroundings, those who lived there were well taken care of. In fact, this place was so well known for its comfortable living that people from all over the world tried to resettle there.

While this land had more than enough to share with others, it kept what it had for its own. Its own became very set in their customs and values, and pretended to be gracious in all manner of things. They were decent and civil, and smiles and pleasantries among them were always abundant as long as there was an abundance of food, shelter, and clothing. Yet they were clever in their pursuit of this lifestyle, ensuring they had plenty, even if it meant behaving greedily.

This self-gratifying way of life paled in comparison to Nash’s excessively selfish behavior.  While growing up, Nash had led a privileged life. He lived in a nice house and always had plenty of good food to eat. His clothes were new, stylish, and of the finest quality. He had one wardrobe for the summer and one for the winter. As he got older, Nash stopped at nothing to ensure that he had more than he actually needed.

- Minjy the Robot    

Respect Your Elders

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Redley Jones and Mrs. Pearl NOV 18 2019.

Forever young. Some of us feel this way for our entire lives, and I think that it’s a wonderful thing. Some of us feel that older age is a very long way off, and therefore do not bother to consider the physical and emotional challenges that seniors face.

 

In my third e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot - A Pirate’s Life’, the topic of respect for elders and senior citizens is addressed. At times, some of us are caught up in our daily routines and put off spending time with older people in need of conversation or a friendly smile. As well, kids and adults sometimes forget the importance of showing respect to senior citizens when out and about. For example, when taking public transportation, do you remember to give up your seat for an elderly person? Above are two characters - Mrs. Pearl is the recipient of respect from her younger employee, Redley. Below is a sample from my e-book.

Happy reading!

Redley made his way to Mrs. Pearl’s guest house. A big smile came to her face when she answered the door and saw Redley standing there.

“It’s so good to see you, Redley,” said Mrs. Pearl, “and it is so kind of you to make the trip all the way over here to see me. You look as handsome as ever! How are you my dear?”

“I’m fine, Mrs. Pearl,” he replied, “and thank you for asking. You look very well, Mrs. Pearl. How have you been feeling?”

“I’m good thank you,” she said. “It’s very beautiful here at the Alison Inn, especially at this time of year. The weather is so pleasant up here in the hills. It is always a bit cooler than in Port Marcia and not as humid. I have many friends here that keep me company - you know how important that is to me. I’m still a ‘social butterfly’ as they say and I’m afraid I can never talk to enough people.

“Redley, it’s so kind of you to visit me and I do appreciate it. You’re the only one from the restaurant that takes the time to do so. Tell me, how is everything at Fish Your Wish?”

“Very good, Mrs. Pearl,” replied Redley. “The restaurant is busier than ever, and now during Mid-Winter Festival we are busy from the early in the morning until midnight.”

“That’s so nice to hear. It seems that Fish Your Wish is as successful as ever, and I know that it is because of your hard work and dedication,” said Mrs. Pearl.

“Thank you for saying that, Mrs. Pearl. I really appreciate your praise,” he replied.

“Well, Redley,” said Mrs. Pearl, “I don’t want to keep you from the restaurant. I know that you are a busy man and the best restaurant manager that I could ever hope to have. I do appreciate a fine man like you taking time to visit an elderly lady like me.”

“It is my pleasure, Mrs. Pearl,” he replied. “I will always be grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to work at Fish Your Wish. When we first met I was a teenager with no experience and you didn’t know a thing about me.

“You gave me a chance and you were very kind to me. Everything that I know about the restaurant business is because of you. You have been a great teacher and a wonderful mentor to me.

“It is so important to me to respect my elders and not to forget the people that helped me along the way – especially you, Mrs. Pearl. The young generation seems to have forgotten how important it is to respect their elders and spend time with them. I promise that as long as we are both blessed with years ahead I will always come to visit you. You have my word.”

- Minjy the Robot – A Pirate’s Life

Social Media Do's & Don'ts 

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Minjy Search Mouse Pad and Whirlybird OC
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App. This funny, little word came into existence not that long ago. Yet, its popularity has soared in a relatively short period of time. So has our reliance on them, and that’s why it’s important to use them safely.

 

In my latest e-book, 'Minjy the Robot and the Search for Wing Wong', the topic of safely using social media - dating apps - is addressed. In this story, Anna Howell and Jimmy Bellford are on the fictional app, 'Wink'. Rather than using photos, the app has users choose nicknames and emojis that best convey their personalities. Anna goes by 'Mouse Pad' and Jimmy by 'Whirlybird'. They are careful to follow the do's and don'ts of social media use and are mindful to never meet with anyone that they don't know. Below is a sample from the e-book.

Happy reading!

While walking home Jimmy heard an unfamiliar chime from his phone. He stopped to check and discovered that it was a notification from one of his apps - a dating site called ‘Wink’.

It claimed to be different than other relationship websites. For one, member profiles were based on personality rather than looks and no photos were required. Users, who were affectionately known as winkers, went by nicknames and chose emojis to convey something about them. If they became interested in one another, it was up to them if they wanted to exchange photos on their own. Wink’s approach to dating was popular among singles, especially the ones that thought compatibility based on appearance alone was not genuine.  

* * * *

After handing up, Anna remembered to check the Wink notification on her phone. She tapped on her on account – her nickname was ‘Mouse Pad’ – and proceeded to her inbox. There was an unread message and the sender’s nickname was ‘Whirlybird’.

His message read:

“Hi there, Mouse Pad! Looks like we have a ton in common – that’s so cool. I also live in Gibraltar. Wanna meet up some time?”

Anna wasn’t quite sure how to respond, but she knew all too well not to meet with anyone who she had just met on social media. She heard of too many instances where unsuspecting individuals were lured to meet with people who were not who they claimed to be. Thankfully, tips on how to interact safely with others on social media were well publicized and helped most people not to be vulnerable. She and her friends always considered unknown contacts as strangers, and they remembered being taught as children not to talk to strangers.

When it came to social media acquaintances, Anna never met with anyone unless she absolutely knew them. She did feel comfortable using Wink because it screened its members – she considered that to be a safeguard. After thinking for a moment, Anna decided to initiate more conversation with Whirlybird. To her delight, they messaged with each other for more than two hours and got better acquainted. Anna suggested that they continue their online chat the following evening and take things slowly before considering the possibility of eventually meeting. Whirlybird agreed and said that he respected her sensible approach.

- Minjy the Robot and the Search for Miss Wong

Hurt Feelings 

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Minjy the Robot Sylvie and Julien NOV 20

Hurt feelings. This sentiment, unfortunately, is far too often expressed between friends or relatives. While words have the ability to uplift, they also have the power to destroy. Sometimes we don’t even realize that what we’ve said has caused harm - feelings are hurt. Whether or not we receive an apology, this hurt can linger and change relationships - even ruin them. It can also wound us emotionally, leaving scars on our souls and misshaping our view of others. In my first e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot’, the topic of hurt feelings is addressed. The above character - Sylvie - comes to mind when Julien is verbally tormented by someone cruel. He has a flashback to his youth and tries to draw resilience from a story he learned at school. Here is a sample from the e-book.

 

Happy reading!

 

Julien was shaking with fear. He knew in his mind and heart that he had done the right thing by going to the store to buy chocolates for the helpers, just as Nash had told him to do. Yet Julien felt helpless hearing the lies that Nash was accusing him of. He just stood there feeling so embarrassed. He could not speak. Julien’s mind was racing. As well, he became frightened by the sight of the red glowing light on Minjy. Indeed, it was a strange, scary sight to him and all of the helpers, but not to Nash.

Julien struggled to gain some sense of composure and tried stand up to Nash, yet he was too stunned and could not. His heart was so pure and good and he had never been treated so badly like this before. Perhaps it was the shock of it all that suddenly conjured up a memory from his childhood. With his eyes closed, Julien felt as though he was suspended in time as he remembered a story that he learned at school.

It was from a book entitled ‘Page of Dreams’, and it was about a young girl named Sylvie who loved animals. She was soft-spoken, polite, and the youngest in her class. Sylvie and her first grade classmates were given workbooks containing blank sheets of paper. One day, the teacher brought out a large box of colorful crayons. The students were instructed to use the crayons to draw pictures in their workbooks.

“Now remember, children,” said the teacher, “please share the crayons with your classmates and put them back into the box when you’re finished. You may draw whatever you like, and afterwards, we will look at everyone’s pictures together.”

The activity took a good part of the morning and the children were having fun. The classroom was quiet as the students concentrated on their drawings. The occasional giggle broke the silence, as some of the kids became amused by what they had drawn. The children were very good at sharing the crayons, although some did become impatient at having to wait their turn for a particular color to be returned to the box.

As the teacher observed her students, she noticed that most of them had finished their pictures. Then she made an announcement to the class, saying, “Okay, children, please return the crayons to the box and we will look at everyone’s drawings.”

Excitement filled the classroom. The students sat with anticipation as each waited for their name to be called. One by one, each child was invited to the front of the room and asked to show their picture to everyone, and to explain what they drew and why they drew it. There were all sorts of drawings of a variety of different things. The students had transformed their blank pieces of white paper into colorful pictures. After displaying their works of art, so to speak, each student received polite applause from the other children and the teacher.

One of the last students to be called up was Sylvie. Normally shy, Sylvie was anxious to show her drawing to the class and practically ran to the front of the room. Everyone looked at Sylvie’s picture which was drawn on the lower right corner of the paper. The image was that of a rabbit, yet it was so small that it took up a small portion of the sheet, leaving the rest blank.

One of the students raised their hand and asked, “What did you draw? It’s so tiny that I can’t even tell what it is.”

“It’s a baby rabbit – a bunny – and they’re suppose to be small,” she replied.

The teacher looked at Sylvie, saying, “That’s a very nice rabbit, but why didn’t you fill up the rest of the sheet? Rather than leaving it blank, you could have added other things to the picture, like green grass, or trees, or pretty flowers. Certainly those are things that go together with rabbits.”

Upon hearing the teacher’s comment, some of the children began to laugh.

“Now, children, it’s not polite to laugh,” said the teacher. “Sylvie has done a good job drawing the rabbit, even though it is rather small.”

The teacher reached down for a pair of scissors resting on her desk. She cut away the picture of the rabbit from the rest of the blank sheet. Then she held up the small piece of paper for all to see, saying, “Always remember to try to fill up as much of the sheet as possible. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a tiny little picture, just like this one.”

Again, there was laughter from the class and even louder than before. The teacher quickly realized that her remark unintentionally made fun of Sylvie’s drawing. Both the teacher and Sylvie were embarrassed, but for different reasons. The teacher had not meant to make her student feel bad, but rather, was merely trying to teach her class a lesson about art. Sylvie, on the other hand, felt ridiculed and could only think that everyone was laughing at her. She began to cry. Upon seeing her tears, the students stopped laughing and the room became quiet. One of her friends came up to Sylvie and gave her a hug. The teacher apologized to Sylvie, who returned to her desk without saying a word.

The ending to Page of Dreams was Julien’s favorite part of the story and always inspired him. Despite Sylvie’s less than favorable introduction to art, she never became discouraged. She knew from an early age that she loved to draw – it was fun for her - and she wasn’t going to let an unpleasant experience get in her way. Sylvie learned the importance of being resilient. She combined her passion for art with her love of animals and went on to become an accomplished artist. She spent a good part of her adult life travelling to Africa, and her paintings of its unique wildlife became famous.

At that moment, Julien knew how Sylvie must have felt after being ridiculed. He remembered the moral of the story – to never give up. He learned the importance of resilience and hoped to persevere with Nash. Yet he realized that for now there was little he could do to challenge Nash. Julien was right - it would have to wait for some other time, or perhaps never. Then, in the blink of an eye, Julien turned around and fled, never to be seen again.

- Minjy the Robot

Remorse

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Minjy the Robot Returns  Minjy and Wing

You made a mistake. Maybe it was a day ago, a week ago, a year ago, or perhaps a lifetime ago. Now you have remorse.

I remember a personal incident from my younger, brasher days that led to very poor judgment on my part.

A good friend and I had both embarked on our individual careers. I needed some work to be done and thought it would be great idea to send my business his way. I did, and along with it came an unreasonable lack of patience on my part. To make matters worse, I angrily expressed my impatience to him. He explained that he was under a lot of pressure in his first full-time position and did not needed any added stress from me.

Not only was he completely correct, but my immature behavior adversely affected our friendship. Things were never the same again. Remorse, sadly to say, stayed with me for decades.

In my second e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot Returns’, the main character- Minjy - experiences this realization. More importantly, she acknowledges her wrongdoing and learns from her mistake. Above are some characters from this story. Below is a sample of the e-book.

Happy reading!

As Minjy was returning to Miss Wong’s room with the soap and brush, she began to think of the man named Julien who she knew a long time ago from the workshop. As she thought about him, Minjy began to feel sad for the way he was mistreated, and all on account of her. She had never felt this kind of sadness before in her life, and she felt remorse for the bad things she had done.

Chapter 17

Miss Wong was almost finished scrubbing the back of Minjy’s head and was satisfied that the X was all but gone.

“The soap and brush and a bit of elbow grease has certainly done the trick!” said Miss Wong with a sense of satisfaction. “Now remember, Minjy, you must be kind and considerate to others and speak politely to everyone. And also remember that everyone knows you as Robot until another name is given to you by Julien.”

Then Minjy looked at Miss Wong.

“Miss Wong, may I tell you something?”

“Well of course, Minjy.”

“When I was on my way back to your room with the soap and brush, I began to feel strange. It was a feeling that I’d never felt before.”

“What was the feeling?”

“Sadness and guilt.”

“Minjy, what do you think brought it on?”

“When you mentioned that my name would be chosen by Julien, it reminded of someone I knew a long time ago. His name also happened to be Julien, and he was a very kind man. He was nice to me and helped me to get a job at a workshop that made clocks. I would not have gotten the job if it were not for his help.

 “I ended up being hired by Julien’s boss who was the owner of the workshop. He was a very bad man, and I helped him to be cruel to Julien. It was my fault that Julien stopped working at the workshop and had to run away. And when he did, it made me happy.

“When I was walking back to your room and thought about this story, I felt sad and ashamed of myself. I feel guilty for what I did, and I wish I could do something to change what happened, but I know I can’t. I’ve never felt this way before – to feel sad when bad things happen to others.

“Miss Wong, what’s wrong with me?”

“Minjy, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. As a matter of fact, what you are feeling is completely normal. Everyone makes mistakes and afterwards has regrets. The reason for your feelings of sadness and guilt is because you now realize that you made a mistake by being cruel to Julien. I suspect that back then you behaved much differently and were not kind and considerate to others. But now you are good, and you feel badly for the pain you caused to Julien.

“You are correct that you cannot change what happened back then – it is in the past. However, we are fortunate that we can learn from our mistake. We can try as best as possible not to make the same mistake again. If you can succeed in bringing happiness to others and not cause pain to anyone, then you have done everything possible to make a wrong thing right. Do you understand, Minjy?”

“Yes I do, Miss Wong.”

“Now I have a question for you, Minjy. You mentioned that the owner of the workshop was a bad man, and you helped him to be cruel to Julien. Is that correct?”

“Yes, that’s correct, Miss Wong.”

“Therefore, this man is also responsible for being cruel to Julien and causing him to run away. Would you say that is correct?”

“Yes, I think so. As a matter of fact, I always thought that the owner was even crueler to Julien. But unfortunately, when I saw the owner being bad I did nothing to help Julien. I just stood in silence and watched. I am ashamed to say that I enjoyed seeing Julien suffer.”

Then Minjy began to cry.

“Minjy, listen carefully to me,” she said. “You have learned a very valuable life lesson and your feelings have matured. You now have the kindness and compassion to move forward with your life and do good things for others.

“As for the owner who was also cruel, sometimes life has a strange way of turning out. One day this man may also realize that what he did was wrong. And I regret to say that one day the same cruelty may be visited upon him – I truly hope not. But that is not for us to judge. Nor is it a good thing to have feelings of revenge. Rather, hopefully one day you will hear that this man changed his ways and became a good person.” 

“Yes you’re right, Miss Wong,” replied Minjy. “I feel a lot better now that I’ve spoken with you. I will think about all of the things you said and I’ll try to be good always.”

Then Minjy stood beside Miss Wong and touched her hand.

“Thank you, Miss Wong. You are my best friend in the whole world. I love you.”

Miss Wong smiled. A tear rolled down her cheek. 

- Minjy the Robot Returns

Work Ethic

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The idea of working hard to get ahead is nothing new. It’s called the ‘American Dream’ in the United States. For there and other places, it’s the honest principle of maintaining a solid work ethic. This is a virtuous standard, as long as our ambition behind it is also virtuous. For example, when we work to put food on the table; clothe ourselves; cover rent or mortgage payments; or save for college – the list goes on and on – then these are reasonable and responsible reasons to try and earn as much money as we can.

 

However, if our ambition is based on, for example, illegal or illicit behavior; personal gain at the expense of others; excessive habits; or seeking social status – the list goes on and on – then there may be an issue.

 

It's your money and you can do what you want with it - I get it. Yet, I also think that when our ambition is decent and results in satisfaction with our lot – yes, some have more than others – then we truly are wealthy and our work ethic has worked.

 

In my first e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot’, Cheddi is astonished at Nash’s downfall, all because of his greed. Cheddi’s life experience has taught him that happiness is largely shaped by perspective - being content with what we have from working hard and earning an honest living. In Nash’s case, he lost sight of what it means to behave ethically just to satisfy his greed. Here is a sample of the e-book.

Happy reading!

Cheddi’s story was done, and even though so much had occurred at the workshop after Simon left, he was still amazed by it all.

“I’ll tell you, Simon,” he wrote, “to this day I still cannot understand why someone like Nash behaved so badly. He had so much going for him – a workshop full of great employees who could not do enough for him. He was on the right track by building good quality clocks – they were superb and second to none. He and everyone who knew anything about clocks would agree. Rather than being patient and continuing to build fine clocks and a fine reputation, he ruined things for himself.

“Simon, to put it plain and simple, Nash was greedy, and it went to his head and hardened his heart. It’s a flaw of human nature by some to have so much yet always want more, and that’s my impression of Nash. His workshop was worth its weight in gold and he had every reason to be content with his lot, but he wasn’t. I and the other workers may have had far less than Nash in terms of material possessions, yet we were grateful and happy for what we had. My father often reminded me that having gratitude is like breathing fresh air – it renews us.

“He tried to fool others into thinking that he was decent and good but he only fooled himself. He alone is to blame for his failure, and no one put him up to the cruel things that he did – not even Minjy or Iga. I especially feel bad for Julien – he was a fine man and did not deserve to be forced to run away. Don’t you worry, Simon – honest, kind people like Julien end up on top, I just know it!”  

Cheddi ended off his message by wishing Simon well and said that he would be in touch again soon.

- Minjy the Robot

Toxic Work Environment 

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A toxic work environment. This phrase could be used to describe, say, an office building with walls that are insulated with asbestos; or drinking water that runs through lead pipes; or closed windows that do not allow the outside air to enter and circulate. Any one of these - and countless others - can cause the indoor environment to become toxic. What's more, exposure to it can cause disease.

 

These physical conditions - asbestos insulation, lead pipes, closed windows, and the like - are health hazards.  Yet, could there be other toxins in an office environment that are bad for us? Need it be something tangible like the above examples that can affect our health? 

 

What about someone or something that has a detrimental effect on our mental and emotional health? For example, can improper communication - spoken, written, gestured, implied - in the workplace have a harmful effect on our well-being?

 

Yes, I think it can.

 

Take the scenario of a colleague or boss who routinely exhibits harsh, disrespectful, or unreasonable behavior towards you. It may begin at the bottom - say a colleague, whose actions are condoned by your boss. It could also occur at the top - say your boss, whose behavior towards you is harassing, or they disregard their manager's abusive conduct with you. 

 

Woe to the one who has the boss from hell.

 

This is what comes to mind when I think of such misbehavior. Furthermore, there is no justification for this insolence. Simply put, it has no place in the work environment, or anywhere for that matter.  If I had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of such ill-treatment, it would be time for me to wake up and smell the coffee. A bad situation could get worse and affect job performance, and more importantly, health and well-being. 

 

I go by the following don'ts:

1) I don't avoid dealing with the matter.

 

2) I don't allow it to fester within me.

 

3) I don't fear that speaking up to defend myself will work against me.

 

If I come to the realization that my job is working against me, then it's time to take stock of the situation and myself. For me, that's just plain being smart about things.   

 

In my first e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot’, Simon is deliberately mistreated by his boss, Nash, and colleagues, Minjy and Iga. He is forced to participate in an unethical business plan and threatened with dismissal if he does not. As well, Nash, Minjy, and Iga share the intent of dealing cruelly with Simon. It is apparent to all, yet Simon tries to persevere and think his way towards a workable solution. Here is a sample from the e-book.

Happy reading!

A few moments after he sent his message, Nash went to Simon’s office and started to yell at him.

“There is no mistake! You can’t simply sit around the whole day and chit-chat with our suppliers on the telephone, and be nice to them and give them big orders for parts, and then pay them whatever they want.”

Nash didn’t hesitate to continue with his scornful comments.

“Simon, you remind me of those stupid helpers in my workshop! Now stop wasting my time and let me be clear. You have exactly one month to get all of our suppliers to agree to accept half the price for their parts. If you do not get all of them to agree then you’re out of a job! Understood, Simon?”

Simon stared at Nash and wasn’t the least bit afraid of his threat. In fact, he became stronger and bolder in response to Nash’s harsh behavior.

“No problem, sir,” he answered, and said nothing more.

For the days and weeks to follow, Simon would get several visits each day from Minjy and Iga, harassing him to complete Nash’s request. He also received a flurry of messages on his computer from Nash, demanding daily updates of the suppliers who agreed to accept half the price for their parts.

As Simon sat in his office doing work, he paused and wondered what had happened at the workshop. It had once been such a pleasant place to work, and now the working atmosphere had now turned so heartless and cruel. He fondly remembered happier times at the workshop when Julien was the chief taskmaster, and all of the helpers worked in harmony building clocks for Nash. It was very different then, and it was very different now.

He was struck by how nasty and rough Nash had become. When the two first met, he gave Simon the impression of being a fair boss who was smart and principled. Prior to this job, Simon had worked with all sorts of people from all walks of life. During his career he had met others in various positions of authority including co-workers and owners. The latter group – owners – were usually scrupulous. Most had been through the ups and downs of business and had learned to deal patiently with problems and people.

In Simon’s opinion, those who approached situations with a view towards the long run rather than chasing short-term gain were usually the most successful. He originally thought of Nash in this way as he purported to act professionally. Simon figured that a person who had managed to accomplish what Nash had – own a workshop and provide livelihoods for others – was of high moral character. Yet it was all an illusion. Nash was the complete opposite of the upstanding individual that he made himself out to be.

Nash was managing every little detail of the workshop from his big office. If there was something that Nash, Minjy, or Iga disapproved of, there would be a terrible scene in the workshop and the helpers would suffer.

****

Simon tried his best and it was not easy, especially since Nash, Minjy, and Iga showed him no compassion and continuously pressured him for updates on his progress. Minjy, together with Iga by her side, would routinely come to Simon’s office and harass him.

“Simon, you are aware that Nash expects you to complete your assignment by the end of the month. Tell me how many suppliers have agreed so far to accept less money!” said Minjy.

Iga stood by Minjy’s side and did not say a word. She had a very strict look on her pudgy face and did not smile, at least not outwardly. Deep in her heart, Iga, just like Nash, delighted in the misfortune of others.

It was no better with Nash. The messages from him on Simon’s computer were being sent one after another and becoming much harsher in tone. By the end of the month, the abuse that Simon received from Nash, Minjy, and Iga, was practically unbearable. Yet he persevered, worked very hard, and kept thinking of how to best accomplish the task.

“Concentrate on the solution, not on the problem,” thought Simon over and over again.

- Minjy the Robot

Rage

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Rage. I am not referring to hostility which leads to a premeditated, harmful plan that will occur sometime in the future.

What I am talking about is spontaneous anger at someone, something, or a situation that we’re in. Our emotions spiral out of control and overtake our ability to think and act with reason. Our thoughts, which are typically governed by logic, understanding, and tolerance for different points of view are suddenly overtaken by a powerful, short-tempered, and instant call to action.

It could be in the form of communication – words that are harsh and damaging. It could also be in the form of violence – physical harm to people or property. Whether rage is verbal or physical, it is guided by a quick, extreme reaction which makes us say and do things that we otherwise wouldn’t.

Need some examples?

You’re driving along and another vehicle does something that you think has adversely affected your right of way or safety. You decide to take matters into your own hands and right the wrong that the other vehicle has caused. You are caught up in the moment and are prepared to risk the safety of yourself and others, even at the expense of breaking the law. Simply put, you are overtaken by rage – it’s called road rage.

It’s much the same if you’re standing in line and waiting for your turn, say, at a supermarket, bank, or restaurant. You think someone has cut in front of you – they’ve jumped the line – and you think it is wrong. Chances are that you’re completely right, and chances are also that you’re completely wrong. Yet, you quickly become angry, and who is right or wrong really doesn’t matter anymore. Your ability to control yourself goes out the window, and so does any semblance of reason. You are overcome by rage.

Be it road rage or waiting rage (just two of countless examples), when we lose our cool and it leads to rage, it is not okay. It may seem justified for some for a lingering moment, but when we come to our senses we quickly realize that we’ve made a bad decision and done the wrong thing.

Let’s make it our goal to always act with kindness and tolerance rather than rage.

Here’s a strategy you can employ:

The next time you feel your anger beginning to boil, be smart and take a pause. Think about standing before a judge in a court of law. You must explain why you reacted the way you did. The setting is quiet and you can speak uninterrupted as you have your day in court. The judge will listen to your explanation, and you and everyone else will quickly realize that your behavior was unjustified. Simply put, you acted out of rage. Remember, be smart and take a pause.

In my forth e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot in Glitter City’, a team of art thieves plot to frame Minjy’s friend, Iga, for a crime she did not commit. The only one who knows the truth is Minjy, who is determined to help Iga. One of the thieves – Lars – realizes that Minjy can expose them to the police. In an act of rage, Lars attempts eliminate the problem by throwing Minjy off of a fortieth storey balcony. Here’s a sample from the e-book.

Happy reading!

Lars joined the conversation, saying, “Let me get this straight - Minjy is the only one who knows about this?”

“Yes, that’s right,” replied Helga. “When I got to the Sapphire Room, she was alone and couldn’t take her eyes off the painting.”

“Okay then, the solution is simple,” said Lars.

He walked across the room towards the balcony and unlocked the glass door. Minjy felt a sense of relief and thought that someone was coming to her assistance. The door slid open and Minjy began to shout to Bill.

“Bill, it’s me, Minjy, and I have something very important to tell you!”

Lars grabbed Minjy by the arm and started pulling her towards the balcony railing.

“Lars, what are you doing?” yelled Bill, with a shocked look on his face.

“I’m getting rid of our problem,” he replied. “Don’t worry. No one below will get hurt. The robot will land in the fountain.”

“That’s forty stories down - Minjy will be smashed to pieces!” said Bill.

“That’s the idea,” he replied.

Minjy was terrified. She began to twist and jolt her body in an effort to free herself, yet Lars held on tightly. Minjy continued to struggle. Just when it seemed that she was prevailing, Lars put his arms around Minjy, heaving her up towards the railing.

Bill and Helga watched and did nothing.

“Help me, please! How can you just stand there? Please don’t let him do this!” cried Minjy.

- Minjy the Robot in Glitter City  

Is Might Right?

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I am against violence and am peace-loving. Having said that, I think that might is right when it comes to self-defense or is used as a deterrent.

For the latter, the opposing side is aware that their actions may provoke a devastating reaction. They think twice and refrain from doing anything. The deterrent has done what it’s supposed to do.

If we’re talking about countries settling their differences by use of force, then a deterrent of mightier might may help keep the peace.

In the realm of interpersonal relationships, slinging an insult or throwing the first punch could result in unforeseen, detrimental consequences.

Whatever the case may be, if there’s an inkling that you may be on the receiving end of a retaliatory, stronger action, chances are that you’ll think twice before acting.

I’d like to share a personal story where might – as a deterrent – was right and provided a solution to a childhood dilemma.

During my middle school years, I was physically bullied by a student who was a lot bigger and stronger. He would start fighting with me, and at best I could barely defend myself.

One day during gym class, the student and I were on opposing basketball teams – I was shirts and he was skins. When the game started, he began hitting me for no reason. The hitting didn’t stop and I tried to push him away. I swatted my hand at his bare chest and scratched him. He began to bleed. He was incensed but stopped fighting so he could tend to his wound.

The next time we had gym class, I was in the locker room beforehand to get changed. A row of lockers separated me from the student’s older brother. I overheard him telling his friends what I had done, and that he was going to beat me up. Scared that they might notice me, I made an undetected dash towards the door.

The thought of getting beaten up really frightened me. What would you do in a situation like this? In hindsight, I could have told a teacher about my problem. I decided on a different course of action.

I told my older brother of 6 years (he’s pretty rough around the edges) about the trouble I was having at school. He asked me at what time school ended, and where the kids exited the building. He told me he’d be there the following day and to watch for him.

The next day when school was done he was waiting outside. I met up with him and we watched for the student’s brother to appear.

Eureka! Both brothers appeared along with their buddies.

I pointed them out to my brother (he was about 4 years older than the student’s brother). We approached the group of boys, and my brother told the student and his brother that if they ever bothered me again, he’d come back and kick the sh*t out of them.

They never bothered me again.

The deterrent of a mightier might – my brother possibly kicking the sh*t out of them – made the student and his brother stop their bullying behavior.

 

In this instance, might as a deterrent, was right. By the way, my brother was just blowing smoke - posturing - and wouldn't hurt a fly.

In my second e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot Returns’, one of the characters – Armie – used his physically big stature to help prove his point. He and Nash got into a shell game for money and Nash tried to cheat. Armie was onto Nash’s antics from the outset. He got caught yet denied any wrongdoing, and even tried to claim his winnings. It is only when he realized that Armie was capable of stopping him by force, if needed, that he backed down and conceded.

Armie’s deterrent of might kept things in order.

Below is a sample from my e-book.

Happy reading!

It was a very cold night, and the falling rain kept changing from drops of water into flakes of snow. It didn’t seem to bother Nash, as he didn’t mind the cold weather and needed very little to keep his skinny body warm. He did, though, begin to cough. He had more important things to worry about, like where to go from here.

After months behind bars, Nash looked unmistakably worse than ever. He had grown thinner and looked weary. It was no surprise, as jail food was not appetizing, nor was his jail cell pleasant for sleeping. But that was all behind him now, and he couldn’t help but grin every time he thought about his winnings.

While in jail, Nash gambled with the other inmates and had won a lot of money. As it turned out, he was very good at it – especially because he cheated. His striped knapsack with the chain on it was stuffed with cash.

No matter what the game, from playing cards to running a shell game, Nash had a knack for winning. That is not to say that he wouldn’t cheat whenever possible. But that didn’t bother him in the least as he was a crook at heart.

Nash was gambling with inmates that were just as dishonest as him. He was in a jail with white-collar criminals that were serving time for fraud or cheating on their taxes. Many of them were rich, and Nash kept winning by cheating them out of their money. That was a fortunate thing for him, as he had lost his life savings when he was thrown in jail after defrauding the ‘Department for People’s Safety’.  

As he sat in a momentary daze, he was brought back to reality by a sudden shove on the shoulder. Nash turned his head and found that he was now sharing the bench with a stranger. A man decided sit down on the same bench as him, even though there were plenty of other empty ones in the bus station.

Nash became annoyed.

“Hey, wait a minute,” he said. “There are so many empty benches for you to sit on. Move it!”

The man turned and looked at Nash, and then he stood up. Nash didn’t expect what would happen next. He couldn’t tell how big the man was while he was sitting. Once the man stood up, Nash realized that this stranger was the size of a giant lumberjack. He was tall with big, broad shoulders, and he looked displeased at being told to move.

He looked down at Nash, who was now nothing short of scared. Nash had seen big guys like these in jail and no one messed with them for fear of getting beaten up. The man extended his hand towards Nash.

“My name is Francis.”

Nash looked up at the giant stranger.

“Francis? That’s a girl’s name.”

The man had heard that comment many times before and wasn’t bothered by it.

“I’m Francis Armstrong. If it makes you feel any better, you can call me Fran. My friends call me Armie.”

Nash slowly extended his arm towards Armie and the two men shook hands. Nash was nervous and afraid. He could not tell if Armie was trying to be friendly or not.

Nash was overwhelmed and intimidated by Armie’s huge stature. Yet his tone of voice was quiet and gentle.

“You look worried, chief. Don’t be – we are friends. What’s your name?”

 “Nash.”

He momentarily covered his mouth and coughed again.

“Where are you headed, Nash?”

“Away.”

“What’s in your knapsack?”

“Dirty clothes.”

Nash continued coughing – louder this time. By now he was starting to feel more at ease with Armie but was becoming annoyed by his questions.

“You seem to ask a lot of questions, Armie.”

“Yah, Nash, that’s what I’ve been told. Say, you’ve got a pretty bad cough there, chief.”

He didn’t respond.

Nash had trouble figuring out if Armie was a good guy or a bad guy. He decided to try an old trick on Armie that he learned in jail. It was called ‘the hustle’. Nash would begin to gamble with someone and intentionally lose the first time. Then he would ask his opponent for a re-match and would bet a lot more money. The second time around, he would try to win by cheating as much as possible and he usually succeeded. That’s why he called it the hustle – because he would trick his opponent into thinking that they could win.

Nash reached into his knapsack and pulled out a crumpled paper bag. He emptied it onto the bench, removing three clam shells and one black ball.

“Want to try your luck and win some easy money?” he asked.

Army glanced at Nash and pretended to look confused.

“What do you mean?” asked Armie.

“It’s very simple,” he replied. “See these three shells? I’ll put this black ball underneath one of the shells. Then I’ll move all three shells around. All you have to do is bet that you can pick the shell that has the ball underneath it. If you pick right, you win the bet.”

Armie continued to act as if he didn’t understand the game and gave Nash an even more confused look. Armie, however, was very smart and had seen this game played many times before.

As the two men had just met, Nash couldn’t have known that Armie had travelled all over the world and had seen practically every betting game imaginable. Armie pretty well knew almost every trick in the book when it came to gambling, and he decided to have some fun at Nash’s expense.

He accepted Nash’s invitation to play his shell game. The fun began, but not for Nash.

“So how much do you want to bet?” asked Nash.

“I don’t know. What do you suggest?” he replied.

At this point, Nash was still unsure of what to make of Armie and if he was really as simple as he seemed. Nash knew very well that a lot of good gamblers would often give the impression of not knowing how to gamble. He proceeded with his usual hustle routine and suggested to Armie that they each bet ten dollars. Nash told him that he would win the bet if he chose the shell with the ball underneath. Armie agreed, and each man placed ten dollars on the bench.

The shell game began.

Nash lined the three shells side by side in a row and placed the black ball under the middle shell. Then he began to move the shells around in every direction possible. Both men concentrated hard and had their eyes glued to the shell with the ball underneath it.

Nash wanted to lose intentionally so Armie would bet a second time. He moved the shells around slowly so Armie would win. But Armie outwitted him and chose the wrong shell – he wanted Nash to lose a much larger bet on the next game.

“Ah, you lose,” said Nash as he quickly grabbed the money.

At this point Nash was convinced that Armie was really dumb and continued the hustle.

“Nice try, Armie, but don’t feel bad,” he said. “You played really well and almost won. I’m sure you’ll have better luck next time. Do you want to play again?”

Now it was Armie’s turn to out hustle Nash.

“I’m not too sure if I should,” replied Armie, cunningly. “You did say that I played well and my luck will improve. And it sure would be nice to win back my money. As a matter of fact, if I could win even more money that would be great. But that’s impossible.”

Nash was quick to respond, saying, “I really admire you, Armie, and you’re such a good sport. You almost beat me on the first game, and despite losing you’re still up to the challenge. So how much would you like to bet this time?”

Armie knew that Nash was very good at figuring people out. He continued to act dumb in order to outwit Nash.

Armie suggested that they bet fifteen dollars each on the next game, explaining that if he won he would be up by five dollars. This was part of his act so he could trick Nash into placing a much larger bet.

Nash fell for it.

“Fifteen dollars?” asked Nash. “I really like you and want to be fair. I want you to have a great second chance to win back as much money as you can. I really think we should each bet one hundred dollars.”

“Hmmm,” said Armie, “that sounds like too much. But you did say that I almost won last time and I’d have better luck this time. Do you think I should, Nash?”

“I would if I were in you,” he replied.

Armie had Nash just where he wanted him and all but set himself up for the win.

“Okay,” said Armie.

Then he took one hundred dollars out of his pocket and placed it down on the bench. Nash put his hand into his knapsack and took out one hundred dollars and placed it down as well. The betting was done and the second game was about to begin.

Just as before, Nash placed the three shells side by side in a row and put the black ball underneath the middle shell. As he moved his hand away he accidently knocked one of the bills onto the floor.

Nash and Armie looked at each other as if to say that each one knew what the other was thinking. As Armie bent down to pick up the money, Nash quickly removed the ball that was underneath the shell.

Armie knew what Nash had done but said nothing.

“So let’s get started,” said Nash.

Armie nodded his head in agreement.

Nash placed his hands on the shells and was about to begin to move them around. Suddenly, Armie placed his very large hands over Nash’s hands and stared coldly at him.

“Wait,” said Armie, “let’s make this bet a little more interesting. Why don’t I move the shells around and you guess which one has the ball underneath it? And while we’re at it, let’s raise the stakes to two hundred dollars each.”

Nash looked into Armie’s eyes and knew he’d been outwitted. He realized that Armie knew all along that the ball had been removed.

“So what will it be, Nash?” he asked. “Should we stop now and shake hands, and I’ll be on my way with my winnings?”

Armie’s large hands pressed firmly down onto Nash’s hands.

“So do we have a deal, Nash?” he asked.

Nash was no one’s fool when it came to gambling, especially when his opponent was as big and strong as Armie.

“Yes of course,” he replied. “Go ahead, Armie, the money’s all yours.”

Armie lifted his hands off of Nash’s and flipped over the three shells.

“See? There’s no ball. I won fair and square,” he said.

Armie quickly gathered up the money and stuffed it into his pocket.

– Minjy the Robot Returns

Owning Up to the Truth

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Did you see the TV commercial about the kid with chocolate all over his face? And when asked by his mom if he ate any, his response was no. The little guy looked so cute covered in chocolate while denying any wrongdoing. Well, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, only because he’s not yet old enough to know better. As he gets older, however, he may have to own up to something more serious.

 

We mustn’t forget that when misused, words and deeds have consequences. Whether in the lives of ordinary people or those in the ‘limelight’ - celebrities, politicians, and athletes, to name some - it seems all too common to not take responsibility for a lie or misdeed. A crude phrase (forgive me) comes to mind - it’ll come around to bite you in the ass. I’m sure we can all think of examples of the truth catching up with those who won’t own up.

 

In my third e-book, ‘Minjy the Robot - A Pirate’s Life’, Juliette has the courage to take responsibility for what she and her sister, Monique, did wrong.

 

Here’s a sample from the story:

Judge Appletin sat at his desk and was deep in thought. There still was no proof that Nash stole Monique’s necklace. While he did find Armie’s testimony to be helpful, the judge knew that he could not reach a verdict based on that alone. He had been judging cases for many years and had a lot of experience at it. If he could not rely upon the facts to reach a verdict, then no verdict was reached.

In addition to the papers on Judge Appletin’s desk was the gold and diamond pendant necklace that was kept in a clear plastic bag. The judge concentrated as he stared at the necklace, and then he looked closer to examine its details. He noticed something distinctive about the piece of jewellery.

After a few moments he lifted up his head and a slight smile appeared on his face. It seemed that he had discovered some sort of clue.

Judge Appletin looked at Monique and asked, “Miss Hevelle, what is it that you do for a living?”

Monique stood up to answer the question.

“I’m a card dealer in a casino in Glitter City.”

“I suppose that type of work pays an average wage?”

“Yes, I suppose it does.”

“Miss Hevelle, would you say that you come from a wealthy family?”

“Not at all, Your Honor. My father works as a welder and my mother has two jobs. In the morning she works in a bakery, and in the afternoon she cleans people’s homes. By the time my father arrives home for supper my mother is exhausted. Yet she is never too tired to prepare dinner for him. My parents are working people, and above all they are honest, decent, and good.”

“It is commendable of you to speak with such respect about your parents. Let me ask you the following, Miss Hevelle. How is it that you are able to afford a gold and diamond pendent necklace? There is little doubt in my mind that this is an expensive piece of jewellery.”

Monique felt a chill run through her body and looked somewhat bewildered. She had bought the necklace at a local pawn shop in Glitter City, and paid for it using the money that was stolen from Nash. From the moment she saw it, Monique thought that it was a really beautiful necklace. She had always dreamed of owning one just like it. She tried it on and immediately bought it at what she considered to be a fair price. She wore it out of the shop and hadn’t taken it off since. Otherwise, she paid little attention to anything else about her necklace.

Judge Appletin waited for Monique’s response. For a few moments she was speechless and her mind began to race.

Then the judge repeated himself.

“Miss Hevelle, please tell me how you could afford to buy this necklace.”

Monique began to panic and the only answer she could think of was to lie and say that it was a gift from an old boyfriend. As she was about to respond, Juliette looked at her sister and then stood up to speak.

“Your Honor, may I please answer your question on my sister’s behalf?” asked Juliette.

“Certainly, please go ahead,” replied the judge.

“It is the truth that Monique bought the necklace, and she was able to do so because I gave her the money. In fact, it was a large sum of money that came my way. I tricked someone into a gambling scheme which was dishonest of me. That someone was Nash, or should I say, Mr. Develand.

“I met him while we were both at a medical clinic in my home town of St. Belle. I lied and told him that he could win money by placing bets with me and my sister. I knew that what I was doing was wrong, yet I also knew that Nash was a very dishonest man. I felt no remorse for tricking him or taking his money.

“One day Nash came up with the idea to give me a very large sum of money to play the ‘One in a Billion’ lottery. He gave me one hundred thousand dollars. I never asked him to do that – it was of his own free will. After he gave me the money I said nothing to him and I left. I checked out of the clinic and went to Glitter City. I never expected to see Nash again.

“I gave the money to Monique who has reminded me over and over again that what we did was wrong. At first I didn’t feel that way because we stole the money from a cheater like Nash. Now I have come to realize that Monique is right. What we did was wrong and the fact that it was at Nash’s expense was no justification for what we did.

“I know that what I’m telling you is not relevant to the fact that Nash stole the necklace from Monique. But I don’t want my sister to lie to you. Monique has taught me how important it is to always tell the truth.”

“Well, Juliette,” replied the judge, “it seems to me that you have learned an important life lesson and I appreciate your honesty.”

- Minjy the Robot – A Pirate’s Life

You're Leading Me On!

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Minjy the Robot Search Wing Wong Characters SEPT 25 2019 C.jpg

Relationships. I’m talking about the kind between two singles who are attracted to each other. For instance, dating or hanging out a lot.

Now, what would you say is the most important component in this kind of a relationship? There are many, and I’d venture to say that being straightforward and honest ranks right up there.

Singles commonly express to one another sentiments such as, I really like you, or, I love you. When the response to either statement is straightforward and honest – either in the affirmative or negative – then they both know where they stand.

So if, I really like you, or, I love you is reciprocated truthfully, then that’s wonderful!

And what if those sentiments are not mutually felt and we simply say so? Well, it may be a tough pill to swallow, but at least the other person knows that it’s time to not waste their time.

So far, we have two scenarios that are black and white. It’s a yes I do / no I don’t response to, I really like you, or, I love you. There we have it – black and white.

The trouble lies in the third gray scenario – meaning not being straightforward and honest.

When, I really like you, or, I love you, is said and the response is either vague or less than completely honest, therein lies a problem.

So why not simply tell the truth?

The motivation behind being vague or dishonest could be that they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feeling. They like knowing that they’re really liked or loved, but they don’t feel exactly the same way yet, and maybe they never will.

Perhaps they want to keep them around until someone better comes along.

Another possibility is that they’re already seeing someone else. Now they’re juggling more than one relationship at the same time…someone is going to get hurt.

It is wrong to play with people’s emotions, especially when it comes to relationships. Anyone on the receiving end of hearing, I really like you, or, I love you, when it’s not really meant may well end up heartbroken.

That’s painful, and I don’t envy anyone in that position.

As far as the heartbreaker is concerned. They may face an accusation like, you’re leading me on!

That’s exactly right.

There are a couple of clichés – what goes around comes around; it’ll come back to bite you in the ass – that comes to mind when I hear about this kind of stuff.

When the heartbreaker eventually gets a taste of their own medicine, so to speak, I guess it can be called poetic justice.

Better for ‘this kind of stuff’ to not happen in the first place, yet sadly it does.

In my fifth book, Minjy the Robot and Search for Wing Wong, the topic of being led on is addressed. Two characters, Jimmy and Kat, befriend each other while working on a luxury yacht. They learn more about one another, including that Kat is in a relationship. As they get to know each other even more, she asks Jimmy for a favor and her behavior becomes flirtatious. Mixed signals – the romantic kind – are given and received, and Jimmy is left feeling that Kat has led him on.

Here’s a sample from the story.

Happy reading!

Several hours later, Jimmy caught his first glimpse of land on the horizon. As he leaned against the gleaming, wooden railing, Kat approached from behind and playfully placed her hands over his eyes.

“I hope I’m more interesting than those islands,” she said playfully.

“Of course you are – you don’t even have to ask,” he replied. “How’s your day going?”

After having spent so much time with her, Jimmy got the sense that Kat’s way with him was a mix of friendliness and flirtation. Upon removing her hands, Jimmy turned around to look at her. Kat smiled before responding.

“Really good as a matter of fact, and I was wondering if I could ask you something.”

“Sure, what is it?”

“Before you know it we’ll be heading back to Gibraltar. As a matter of fact, Port Marcia is our last stop. Working on the yacht has been great – I get along well with the chef and the galley staff. The thing is, once we’re back home I’ll need to look for a job. Prior to working on the Leighward I had been looking for work for well over two months. Since the tourist season ended there’s been a glut of cooks looking for work all over town. I was fortunate to have gotten a job on this ship – it was all thanks to my friend, Ricky. I’d be struggling to pay my bills had it not been for him.”

Jimmy sympathized with her situation, saying, “I’m really sorry to hear that.”

Kat placed her hand on Jimmy’s and asked, “If you’re friendly with anyone that may have a restaurant or pub and is looking for some help in the kitchen, perhaps you can mention my name? I’d be so grateful.”

For a moment, Jimmy lost his concentration from the touch of her hand. After all this time he was still confused by it. Then he snapped out of his momentary lapse.

“I’m a regular at a café called the Talkin’ Moroccan,” he replied. “It’s the favorite meeting place for me and my friends and I know the owner. I’ll ask her if there are any openings in the kitchen and I’ll tell her that you’re a friend of mine. I can’t promise that she’ll have anything for you, but I’ll try.”

Kat was overjoyed and kissed his cheek. It was totally unexpected and he blushed. She was about to go back to the galley and then paused.

“Jimmy, I’ve been meaning to ask you something else. Do you have a girlfriend?”

He smiled nervously and answered that he did not, adding that he was closest with his core group of friends. She seemed satisfied by his response and thought nothing more of it. Her question lingered on Jimmy’s mind – he thought of his closest friend, Anna Howell.

* * * *

As the Leighward set sail for the return trip to Nassau, Jimmy was excited to be heading home. Upon arrival in the Bahamas he would take a flight to London and onward to Gibraltar. Jimmy couldn’t wait to share his stories and photos of the people and places that made his trip so memorable. He bid farewell to the turquoise Caribbean Sea and was looking forward to the sights and sounds of Gibraltar.

Jimmy’s trip was slightly marred by a misunderstanding between him and Kat. On the first evening after departing Port Marcia, they were sitting on deck and gazing at the night sky. The stars were twinkling and the warm breeze added to the already ideal conditions.

Of late, their conversations focused on Kat’s hope of Jimmy finding her a job once they were back in Gibraltar. She brought it up constantly and he reassured her that he’d try. Kat rewarded him with friendly hugs and he was unsure of what to make of them.

It seemed to all happen in an instant when Jimmy leaned towards Kat and tried to kiss her. She jolted backwards while extending her arms to stop him. Jimmy was taken aback and embarrassed. Had he misinterpreted Kat’s gestures as romantic? Was he mistaken that she was sending him amorous signals?

  

“I’m really sorry, Jimmy, but you have the wrong idea,” she said. “Time and again I’ve mentioned Ricky’s name. Why would you even think to try and kiss me? Jimmy, I like you as a friend.”

He apologized.

The rest of the trip was awkward as far as he and Kat were concerned. Their evening get-togethers were brief – she blamed fatigue from work that had finally caught up with her. When they reached Nassau, they shared a taxi to the airport for their flights home.

Upon arrival in Gibraltar, they claimed their luggage and said goodbye.

“It was really great meeting you, Jimmy,” she said. “I do hope you’ll be true to your word and help me land a job at the Talkin’ Moroccan. Message me!”

Jimmy was surprised when she gave him a goodbye kiss. He was more confused than ever. Being the gentleman that he was, Jimmy once again answered that he’d try his best and would be in touch. As they parted ways, he was puzzled about their relationship. He accepted responsibility for mistaking it as something more than platonic. Now it was time to move ahead, and his mindset shifted to being re-united with family and friends.

* * * *

Jimmy was the first to show up. He stepped inside the café and immediately noticed Millie and Ben. As he proceeded to walk towards their table he was greeted by Kat who had just stepped out of the kitchen. She darted towards Jimmy and greeted him with a passionate hug. He was happy to see Kat and not the least bit surprised by her on-again, off-again affection towards him.

“This is so typical of Kat,” he thought.

She had previously made it clear to Jimmy that the two were just friends. Her past refusal to go on a date with him, as well as rejecting his attempt at stealing a kiss, lingered strongly on his mind and heart. Jimmy had always given her the benefit of the doubt, thinking that his lack of relationship experience led to him misinterpreting her true feelings. Also, he should have taken a cue from Kat’s constant mention of her friend, Ricky. Now that time had passed, he wondered if her affections that ran hot and cold had everything to do with Kat finding a job after her stint on the Leighward. Regardless of the true reason, it left an indelible impression on him – a negative one at that.

Kat held on tightly as her arms wrapped around Jimmy’s shoulders and she whispered in his ear.

“It’s so good to see you, Jimmy. I missed you a lot.”

He was unfazed by her greeting and she immediately sensed it.

“You were gone for so long. How have you been? What’s new in the life of Jimmy Bellford?”

“Everything’s great. I have a girlfriend now – her name is Anna.”

Kat smiled and tried to be as charming as she could. She did, however, flinch upon hearing the mention of a girlfriend. Kat pretended as best she could to ignore the news.

“Jimmy, are you busy tonight? Let’s get together at your place and we can catch up. I’ll pick up some takeout food and we can talk over dinner. How does that sound? Do we have a date?”

It was all an act to Jimmy and he was not buying into it. Rather than answering yes or no, his response was inquisitive in nature.

“Tell me, Kat. How is your friend, Ricky?”

She was surprised by his question and knew something was wrong.

“Ricky? Why would you ask about him?”

“Kat, you asked me to get together with you for supper tonight at my place. That’s despite the fact that I mentioned that I’m now dating someone. Besides that, your dinner offer sounds kind of forward given that you’re always telling me about your boyfriend, Ricky.”

She felt uncomfortable by his use of the term boyfriend, yet couldn’t deny that he was correct.

“Jimmy, I get the sense that you’re annoyed by something. Listen – I haven’t spoken with Ricky in ages, so you don’t have to worry about that. Let’s talk over dinner tonight. It will be fun – just like old times when we were on the Leighward.”

“Kat, I’m afraid I can’t. I’m in a relationship now and it wouldn’t be right. Even more so, I don’t want to.”

Kat was frustrated by her inability to hold sway over Jimmy.

“I don’t get it. Are you saying no just because you have a girlfriend? What’s the harm in two friends getting together and talking over dinner?”

She gently took hold of his hand and continued speaking.

“I missed you a lot, Jimmy. I’d really like to spend some time alone with you. I’m sure your girlfriend will be fine with it.”

Kat sounded nothing short of desperate.

Jimmy looked at her square in the eyes and responded with a strong sense of righteousness.

“Kat, I liked you a lot. I thought I made that pretty clear on more than one occasion. I asked you out on a date you said no. I tried to kiss you, and you rejected my advances and kept mentioning Ricky’s name. That was more than fair, but when I thought that we were just friends, you acted touchy-feely towards me.

“You were in relationship with Ricky, and at the same time also knew that I was interested in you. In my opinion, you were playing both sides against the middle. I’m sorry to say this, Kat, but I feel you were sending me mixed signals. A small part of me thinks it’s because you were looking for work once your job ended on the yacht. Maybe you thought I could help you out – I really don’t know. Yet, I find it curious that now I’m dating someone and you have a sudden interest in me.

“Excuse me if I’m mistaken, Kat, and the answer is no.”

Jimmy freed his hand from hers. Kat knew what had just happened and that Jimmy was right. Moments later the café’s front door opened and Anna walked in. Kat, desperate to avoid embarrassment, fled to the kitchen.

  

– Minjy the Robot and the Search for Wing Wong

Immigrate

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Remember the Peter, Paul And Mary hit song, ‘Leaving On A Jet Plane’. Packed bags, ready to go, and the rest of the lyrics are great.

When people move from one country to another with packed bags on a jet plane (or ship/train/car), there’s a good chance they have the means to carry on with life in their new home.

What about those who resettle to a new place and have little to no money: little to no understanding of a new language; little to no education or skills; or little to no family or friends.

The truth is that millions of people immigrate with little to no of anything.

I cannot even begin to imagine the courage, strength of character, resilience, fortitude, and the like that it takes to start over in a new country. Moreover, I think of those who must rely only on themselves to survive, let alone succeed.

Yet many do succeed, which begs the question – how is this achieved?

In this case, it could range from learning a new language, to getting a job or more education, to starting a business or career, to prospering to the point of giving back to the community. These are just a few examples.

Whatever the case may be, I’m sure that many of us know or have heard of a person who has immigrated to a new country and built a successful life for themselves and their family – my parents and grandparents did. And it’s possible that they’ve relied on nothing more than their own attributes of intelligence, hard work, common sense, ambition, honesty, faith, and hope – to name some.

These, and having a positive attitude, can allow people to thrive in their new surroundings. I think that it is a wonderful,

remarkable accomplishment to be respected and admired.

In my fifth book, ‘Minjy the Robot and the Search for Wing Wong’, the character, Manuel, strives for a better life for himself and his family. He accepts a new job in a new country, despite his limited ability to speak English. Manuel, along with his wife and young stepdaughter, speak Spanish. Yet, they are not deterred by a language barrier, or any other challenge for that matter. Rather, they have hope that this new opportunity, combined with hard work and determination, will help them to achieve their dreams.

Here’s a sample from the story.

Happy reading!

Paulo told Manuel about the job, and that it meant having to move. He jumped at the opportunity and thought that he had nothing to lose. Lucy was four years old at the time. She and her family, along with all of their belongings, boarded the same ship that transported Paulo’s forklift to Port Marcia.

It was a short, comfortable voyage. When they arrived, Riva helped the family find a place to live and they settled in. Manuel immediately began to work for Riva’s company and stayed there for the rest of his life.

Riva suggested that Manuel bring his daughter to the community center – there were many children and she could make friends. He told his wife, and the next day Camila brought Lucy. They both thought it was a wonderful place. Camila made friends with the other mothers, and Lucy enjoyed playing with the kids.

Judge Appletin could tell that Jimmy was intrigued by the way he was listening so intently. The story, however, was interrupted by music from a piano – he had recalled seeing it in the hall the day before. While the melody was unfamiliar to him, Jimmy was impressed by the obvious skill of the player who played flawlessly.

The judge smiled at him and asked, “I wonder if you can guess who’s at the keys? She plays beautifully – wouldn’t you agree?”

Jimmy hadn’t a clue.

“Well now,” said the judge, “I guess that’s an unfair question seeing that you are a visitor. Why don’t we step into the hall and you can see for yourself. Besides, the music sounds even nicer from there.”

As soon as they entered, Jimmy’s ears followed the sound to the far end of the hall. He was astonished to see Lucy on the stage. She was seated on a piano bench, her fingers gently stroking the keys and playing effortlessly.  Before he could say a word, Judge Appletin resumed their conversation.

“Remarkable – isn’t it, Jimmy?” he asked.

“It sure is!” he replied. “Lucy can barely see the keys, yet she plays like she belongs in an orchestra. Where did she learn to do that?”

“Her stepfather, Manuel, taught her to play,” said Judge Appletin. “From the moment Lucy and her parents stepped foot in our community center, she fell in love with the piano. Lucy was eager to learn and her lack of vision did not stop her stepdad from teaching her. Manuel was a superb player himself and he also loved to sing. He would bring Lucy to the community center every evening after supper. He was an excellent teacher and very patient with her. He understood that all that was needed to play the piano was the desire to do so and the courage to try. He assured Lucy that her sense of hearing would more than compensate for her limited vision.

“Manuel also knew that if he made piano playing fun for Lucy, she would excel in leaps and bounds. He taught her how to play the songs he could sing along to, and that was the secret to their success. Manuel was a talented singer and had a beautiful voice. Instantly, they collaborated. Manuel sat alongside Lucy and taught her the fundamentals of playing music by ear. As her parent, he knew that Lucy had a highly developed sense of hearing and he honed that to its full potential. They practiced tirelessly, all the while enjoying the process and having fun.

“Practically every night and on weekends, this beautiful hall was filled with the pleasant sounds of Manuel singing and Lucy playing the piano. At first, they were simple songs in order to teach her the basics of music. Eventually, this duet sang and played a repertoire of popular music, both old and new. What you are hearing now, Jimmy, is the result of years of practicing and playing. Yet, there’s even more to this remarkable story.”

“Is that so?” asked Jimmy.

“When Manuel brought his family to Port Marcia, he barely spoke a word of English,” replied the judge. “Nor did Lucy, yet she learned quickly as kids often do by going to school and speaking with the other children. Unknowingly to Manuel, while he taught Lucy how to play the piano, she in turn would respond to him in English, teaching him words and phrases. Eventually, his ability to speak became as good as Lucy’s ability to play.”

“Wow, that’s incredible – quite the story!” said Jimmy.

“Let me show you one more thing,” said the judge, motioning Jimmy to follow him. 

They were now standing outside and in front of the community center. The judge drew Jimmy’s attention to a bronze plaque with black wording that was mounted beside the main entrance. Judge Appletin stood quietly as Jimmy read the plaque honoring Mayor Manuel Verra. Jimmy was somewhat puzzled as to why it was being shown to him.

“That’s a very nice plaque, but who exactly was Mayor Verra?” he asked.

“He was Lucy’s stepfather,” replied the judge.

“I don’t get it,” said Jimmy. “I’m pretty sure she told me that her name is Lucy Gil – not Verra.”

“Yes, that’s true,” explained Judge Appletin. “Lucy’s mother re-married but she never changed her daughter’s last name to Verra. When the family moved to Port Marcia, her parent’s English was poor and it was too difficult for them to complete the paperwork to change Lucy’s name. Therefore, her name remained unchanged – Lucy Gil. That’s why her stepfather’s name is Manuel Verra and the plaque reads as such.”

“Yes, I understand,” he said. “So Lucy’s stepdad was the mayor of Port Marcia. That’s quite an achievement.”

“Actually, Jimmy, this is the only part of the story which has a bittersweet ending,” said the judge. “While Manuel lived a relatively long life – by Port Marcia standards – it was cut short due to a sudden illness. He died two days after taking office. Needless to say, his wife and Lucy were devastated yet so proud of him.”

“I guess the fact that Lucy taught him how to speak English played a big role in his ability to run for public office,” said Jimmy.

“Absolutely,” he replied, “and that, combined with Manuel’s eloquence of speech and common sense, contributed to his success.”

  

– Minjy the Robot and the Search for Wing Wong

White-Collar Crime

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You had a pretty good day at work. It was much better than how it began this morning at home. Your kid needed a form to be filled out and signed for school...and due today! There wasn't a pen to be found in the kitchen - a mad scramble to get one somewhere in the house. It got late. You had to get your kid to school and be on time for work. Nerves were shot, your temper flared, and it wasn't even 8:00 a.m.

Now you're getting ready to leave the office. You glance at the container of company pens resting on your desk. For a split second you think of the frustration of this morning, all because of that shortage of pens. You decide to grab a few from your desk - these will come in handy at home!

Question: is there any harm in taking home a handful of pens from work?

For certainty, this small batch of office supplies has a value, albeit nominal. I think, however, the more important question is: have you done something wrong by taking company property from the workplace for non work-related use at home?

One might justify this action by thinking that it's no big deal - the company will just have to budget for a few more missing pens.

In this scenario, the loss to the company isn't more than a few bucks. So what's the harm? Well, stealing is stealing and the decision to take something that doesn't belong to you is an indication of your ethics.

Now, chances are that what was done is a one-off and will not be repeated.

But what if it does?

There is also the possibility that in the future it may be on a grander scale. It may involve the workplace theft of a large sum of money. In other words, fraud.

Accordingly, some thoughts comes to mind. There may be a misconception that:

1) the company, or someone you deal with on behalf of the company (they are the victim), can afford to absorb the loss. Maybe so, but that's irrelevant.

2) the act of fraud affects no one other than the victim - very unlikely.

All of the above falls into the category of white-collar crime. Some may think that this really isn't a form of crime; it doesn't actually hurt anyone; or it isn't as serious as violent crime.

The bottom line: just as stealing is stealing, crime is crime. White-collar criminals destroy lives much the same as perpetrators of violent crimes.

In my first book, 'Minjy the Robot', the act of fraud is committed by a business owner - Nash. His motivation is to profit by selling a defective product to a government department. Even more disturbing is his total disregard for public safety caused his selfishness. Nash is blinded by greed and ultimately, as the saying goes, it comes around to bite him in the ass.

Here's a sample from my book.

Happy reading!

The Head of the Department was outraged by a lawbreaker like Nash who had caused such mayhem. He committed white-collar crime and the official thought that the nature of this offense was reprehensible.

From his experience he knew that the public became more incensed by other types of crimes that involved violence or robbery. These were perceived to cause serious harm to many, while white-collar crime such as fraud was not violent and less threatening to public safety.

However, the official knew that all forms of crime were harmful and resulted in pain and suffering to the victim.

He often thought that there was a common misconception when it came to downplaying crimes by individuals or groups that cheated others out of their money, be it savings or investments.

Again, most people took a more lenient view of this type of wrongdoing. Yet, the official had seen instances where this form of illegal activity led to repercussions that caused emotional and physical injury.

As far as the officer was concerned, those who broke the law inevitably broke their victim’s lives.

“Nash, have you no conscience?" asked the official. “Is your greed for money and your ambition to become rich free you from moral responsibility? Is this your idea of good business ethics? Where is your sense of decency? Have you no feelings? Nash, you sicken me and you will pay for your crime. You have foolishly committed fraud by selling defective clocks to the Department of People’s Safety, as well as put the public in grave danger. Nash, you will never again see the light of day. Officer, put this villain in hand cuffs and take him to jail!”

- Minjy the Robot

Disclaimer: The content in these blogs is my opinion and my opinion alone, and I am not responsible for any outcome if anyone were to apply my opinion to themselves or others. As well, the information in these blogs is not advice and should not be treated as advice. You understand and agree that you are fully responsible for your use, if any, of the information provided in these blogs. Any added content to any blog by anyone other than me is not my opinion, and I am not responsible for any outcome if anyone were to apply the added content to themselves or others. This disclaimer is intended to caution readers to use this blog site at their own discretion.

Perfection

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Question: what’s your idea of perfection?

I’d speculate that for some, there’s no such thing, be it a person or thing.

For others, perhaps perfection is, for example, a loved one, or a new car, or a delicious meal, or reading a really great book. But what happens when your hurt by a loved one; your brand new car won’t start; that scrumptious food upsets your stomach; or that fabulous book has an ending that’s a total letdown?

In an instant, what we thought was perfect suddenly is not.

If we accept the notion that imperfections are inherent in perfection, we may end up being less disillusioned by less than perfect people, events, or things.

I think that perspective has a lot to do with our view of the perfect or imperfect world that we live in. If we adopt an accepting and tolerant attitude, we have the opportunity to become a bit more perfect ourselves.

In my fifth book, Minjy the Robot and the Search for Wing Wong, the character, Wing, for a time becomes disillusioned with people. Being the deep thinker that she is, Wing reflects on the world around her and comes in and out of the realization that perfection comes with its share of flaws. Even more so, she understands that to think otherwise is little more than her own flawed thinking. Wing meets some very nice people who help restore her faith in humanity.

 

Here’s a sample from my book.

Happy reading!

Wing rested her head on the seat back and closed her eyes. She re-opened them and began to speak.

“After working for many years in the electronics industry I decided to make a career change. I became affiliated with a university and wanted to learn something new. I began to do research in environmental studies. I worked very hard and after many years I became regarded as one of the world’s top scientists in my field.

“One of the things that I realized is how perfect nature is – I’ll give you an example. Think for a moment of gentle winds and sunny skies that grace the world with their tranquility. They often change into powerful winds and lashing rains that can be devastating. Those forces, although destructive, are a natural occurrence and unintentional. To draw an analogy, it is much the same as a hungry lion in the jungle. It hunts its prey only to survive. Otherwise, it will live and let live.

“I mistakenly wondered why we humans are so flawed and not more like nature. While most people are good, there are some that are not. They do bad things and usually with intent. I wrongfully developed a sort of contempt for everything around me that was not a part of nature – people to be exact. The truth is that it was my thinking that was flawed and led to my cynicism of others. I put myself in solitude and was cut off from the rest of the world – I should not have done that. Somewhere along the way I forgot that ultimately, goodness prevails. We are human and make mistakes, and even though we try our best, no one is perfect.

“After many months of spending time alone I met Tom and his daughter, Mai. I think that turned things around for the better for me. Mai brought meal trays to my room. Every day she would knock on the door and I wouldn’t answer. Despite that, she persisted in her efforts to ensure that I had food, and by the looks of things, plenty of it. I know that to be true, for as time went on the food became more abundant, especially the desserts. She must have noticed that I left some food untouched but always finished the sweets!

“I finally met Mai while on a walk outside. She was with Tom, who was walking Sassy. I love animals and could tell that he was kind from his gentle way with her. As well, it was apparent to me that he had a special bond with his daughter. He spoke to her in such a calm manner. It was plain to see how much he truly loves her.

“Tom’s caring disposition was evident for the moment we met. He had a genuine interest for my well-being and we hit it off immediately. For some strange reason I got the sense that he was someone who could be trusted, and it was refreshing for me to feel that way again. Meeting Tom and Mai restored my faith in people, and that’s when I decided it was time to go home. After that I found Minjy in the dining hall, and eventually, you helped find us stranded in the woods.”

– Minjy the Robot and the Search for Wing Wong

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