5 Questions Men Dread Being Asked By Their Women

I recently attended a ‘stag bash’ for about 5 guys from our old church a couple of weeks ago. It is amazing to see them give their lives like a lamb to the slaughter willingly and commit their lives to women they have confused dated for long enough to be convinced that these are the women they would like to spend the rest of their lives with. We gathered at the home of Debbie and Sammy Mate who I am sure have had their share of ‘big family’ jokes. They have four sons. This must be why some times Sammy is referred to as ‘Father Abraham’. I will not unduly take advantage to continue caning them about their many kids, ok, only once more then I move on. On their wall they have a picture that I thought was one of those pictures people take at Nyayo Stadium during AFC/Gor football matches of a cross-section of the spectators. On closer look I found it was actually their family photo. Ok, enough of that.

Sammy, myself and several other ‘wazees’ were invited to share words of wisdom to the soon to be victims newly-married men. I think three of the five will be getting married this weekend. Sammy shared these questions that they should ensure they never allow themselves to be asked by their wives. You know the kind of questions you are asked in a phone conversation and then you ‘interrupt’?

“Hello, hello? I can’t hear you clearly! You’re breaking, can I call you back?”

Men know exactly what I am talking about. So what are these questions

1.What are you thinking about?

Now, this is not your usual ‘Facebook Status’ what’s on your mind question. At least Facebook will be satisfied with whatever response you give it. Women will just never believe you if you say “nothing”. No woman believes a man can actually think of nothing. Yet almost all men will agree that we do this all the time. Sammy talked of a time when he was driving to some place with his wife and kids. He asked his first-born son Yanza that same question. Without hesitation Yanza answered “Nothing!”. And Sammy was excited to prove to his wife that someone else can actually give the same answer he had. The ‘best save’ answers are

“Oh, I was thinking how happy I am being married to you all these years”
“Oh, just how much I love you”
“how pretty you are”

2.Do you love me?

One man is noted to have answered “Of course I do and if anything changes I will let you know”. It is not known whether this man is still alive. Another decided to put it down on a poster on the kitchen wall and told his wife to look at it whenever she had doubts. Of course it is these kind of responses that have drastically shortened many marriages if not men’s lives.

The only right answer is “Yes!” The more emphatic and unhesitant the better. Trust me!, just answer first and very fast, think about it later. If possible hold her hand gently and suggest that it was exactly what was on your mind the moment she asked. Of course we all know that you had absolutely nothing on your mind. (see above). Do not, under any circumstances, try to make your short answer more detailed, better or to elaborate. This is slippery ground and more men have hurt themselves here than out there skiing in the alps.

3.Do I look fat?

Woooooooiii, this is worse than a minefield. Be very careful not to say what you are thinking. Say “No!” very very quickly and try as much as possible and as quickly as possible change the topic. If you feel you are about to laugh, run out of the room quickly. Don’t say things like “compared to what?” or “Define fat”. Some men can even smell the question before it is asked and can even preempt it with another question, “Whoa, you look great, have you lost some weight? I like…”

4.Do you think she is prettier than me?

Even if the “she” here is Halle Berry or Janet Jackson, do not hesitate to say “No!” Again do this as emphatically, swiftly and matter-of-factly as you can. After that again you quickly change the topic. Try this. “No! I’m going to Nakumatt, can I get you anything?” Don’t say anything else that you think would be nice like, “I doubt”, “At your age she will look terrible” or “Yeah but I prefer you”. Talking about the weather may be appropriate especially if you are sweating profusely. If you have children, you can pretend to have heard a noise and dash out to the kids’ room to ‘see’ what’s wrong.

5.Do I look prettier in this dress or that one?

This is probably the least life-threatening of them all. But here is the deal. Just make sure you have a good memory. Remember what you picked before. Mark one dress/outfit and make it your favorite. Always choose it whenever faced with it as one of the options. Do not ever forget it. Of course you know that you will be wrong no matter which one you choose. She will try to convince you to choose the other one and give you reasons which you must agree with.

So those are the questions. Of course the most dreaded phrase your woman will say to you is

“We need to talk”

And people say women are complicated! What do you think?

Tuendelee kuongea

5 Innovative Company Loyalty Programs in Kenya

I am finding that Kenyan companies are really working hard to ensure that they get and retain customers especially in areas where there is huge competition. I once worked in tourism and I remember one of my bosses used to really insist that our company should have an edge over the competition.

“The lion that our client will see is probably the same one he will see if he came to Kenya and did a tour with another company, we must add more things (value) to the lion he sees with us, than if he came with another company”, he kept saying.

I believe that companies increase their value proposition with these loyalty programs which gives them an edge over the competition. Here are five companies that I believe, must be doing something right.

1. Kenol/Kobil K-Card

With all the fuss that the high fuel prices are generating, this program seems to be gaining momentum. It has all the makings of being a win-win but I believe that the odds are greatly in favour of the company. The fuel prices are being regulated so there are no major price differences except across different regions. I am going to fuel anyway, so I might as well fuel where I will at least get something back. So if you go through the process of acquiring a K-card, which basically will only entail an initial prepayment of Kshs. 3,000 which you can use immediately to fuel your car, this card enables you to get 2/- off per litre of fuel every day. The deal is made sweeter on Tuesdays and Friday where you get an additional 2/- off and the sweetest is Sundays where you get 3/- more off per litre. I say this is in favour of the company since one, you are essentially prepaying for fuel meaning the company has your money before you use it and two, the discounts are credited to your card so you can only use them for fuel at the company’s outlets. The credits are also sent to your card on a monthly basis so again even that credit you only get after one month of loyalty.

I have seen several downsides to this thing. This translates to customer dissatisfaction and there are times I have just decided to do without those points.

Of course Kenyans being ‘peculiar’, there are usually massive jams at some Kenol/Kobil outlets especially on Sundays. Many have gotten the habit of fuelling mainly on Sundays when you get the maximum 5/- per litre discount. The process of topping up your card is also quite lengthy and in itself this further aggravates the problem. I also do not like to top up my card and just carry it around with credit, I like to top it up and use the exact amount I have topped up as soon as I do. The company has provided some PDQ like machines that are used both to top up your card as well as to carry out the transaction. Some of these additional processes (eg. after a while the guy gives you the machine to enter your pin) cause such delays that you can even see it in the faces of the already overwhelmed pump attendants.

Some stations refuse to top up your card at certain times, especially at night claiming that the “Boss” has gone away with the dealer card required for topping up. Other stations completely refuse to allow you to top up your k-card with a Visa Debit/Credit card and insist you must deal in cash. I was shocked one Sunday when I was served by a proprietor of one station who told me that she had woken up so early that morning to go to church “to pray that Kenol/Kobil would scrap this system as it is causing unnecessary traffic in my station”.

2. Safaricom Bonga points

This is another excellent idea. After registering, a completely painless process, all you need to do is to use your phone as usual. You then proceed to get I think one Bonga point for every 10/- you spend. You can regularly check using a free text message to see how many Bonga points you are accumulating. Again one figures, I am going to use my phone anyway so I might as well use it and get something back. After accumulating points, you can later use them to obtain airtime and to purchase different phones and gadgets like modems and laptops from Safaricom shops. I have enjoyed getting phones and stuff using Bonga points as I think psychologically you feel you are getting “something for nothing”.

But this system also has some downsides I have seen. Safaricom solely decides how many Bonga points you will need to “buy” the gadgets they have on offer and they can change this at any time and there is nothing you can do about it. I once “saved” some Bonga points to acquire a certain Blackberry model which was on offer for 20000 Bonga points. The day before I reached the 20000 points, I found that the “price” had gone up to 40000 Bonga points. What could I do? Nothing. Another thing is that since the calling rates have reduced, these Bonga points, which were set when calling rates were more than 10/- per minute, you will still need to spend 10/- to get one Bonga point. So a Bonga point is “more expensive”. I have also tried to get some phone using Bonga points only to be told that the shop has stock of that model only if you pay cash. This is annoying to the customer but i suppose it works for the company since “where else are you going to spend you points anyway?”. But Safaricom are innovative. The other day, the made it possible to actually transfer Bonga points to another subscriber. Imagine that? Transferring loyalty! Hmmm… one day, who knows? You may be able to convert your Bonga points to M-Pesa… Who knows?

3. Nakumatt Smart card

Using a smart card, you get a smart point for every one hundred shillings spent. Then once in a while, you can convert the points into discounts and other great stuff like school fees. This is really cool. Sometimes you may find that the person in front of you has just bought a fridge or some really huge item and does not have a smart card and so they ask you if they can use your saying, “someone may as well benefit…”. There was a time at Nakumatt Mega when they used to sell cars downstairs. Now imagine a guy letting you use your smart card as they buy the car. Hmmmm… I was pleasantly surprised to find I could use the smart card in Nakumatt Kampala. Now that was really cool.

The downside, well. Their customer care sucks. There was a time our card was damaged and it took more that three months to get it replaced and not the two weeks they had promised. I also wish there was a way you could give the number of your card in case you forgot to carry it. My wallet is now full of cards! Again, it is Nakumatt who decides what to give you for your points and what values to attach to them. But generally this is a good product.

4. The Uchumi U-card

I am not sure which came first but this feels a bit like a “me too” product but I also like it. I also think Uchumi points are easier/cheaper but I am not sure. But it has some nice things that I think the Nakumatt Card does not. For instance, you can just give the teller (or whatever they call those folks at the till) your card number and it will still be credited. The cards also seem to have a bar-code system so they are not like the Nakumatt ones that you have to physically insert into the keyboard of the till machine before you begin the transaction. Tusky’s also have one but I am also not so familiar with their conditions. Oh well, I see now why they call them loyalty programs!

5. The “5 good excuses” Soma points

This is still at conceptual level, maybe you read one post you get one free. I don’t know. This is tricky to implement since the one you read is free anyway. I am working on it. But hey, if you have read so far then you are already a valued partner of this blog. The other day I found a real live fan. I could not believe it. “Heeeee, I love love love your blog. I look forward to it so much every Monday and Friday” I was like OMG! I believe there are quite a number of you who read, enjoy, nod and smile but don’t comment. Well, wherever you are, whoever you are, you are valued.

Tuendelee kuongea.

Father Can You Hear Me

This gospel song is from Tyler Perry’s Movie Diary Of A Mad Black Women. You’re surely to tear up. Watch. Those who’ve watched this movie know exactly what I mean.

See you Monday.

Tuendelee kuongea

Father Can You Hear Me – lyrics

Father can you hear me
We need your love today
I know that you are listening
you hear men everyday
Father please hear us
and we will be ok
father we need you to heal families today

Father can you hear me
I’m calling on your name
Not budda nor muhammed
but it’s jesus we cry out loud
Father just forgive us
Hear us when we say
We’ll give ya, give ya, give you everything our lifes and souls today

Father you know we need it
I’ve never seen so much pain
We have the faith for now
Your victory we will gain
father you know we mean it
there’s no more heart of stone
were ready for your power
now the sin is gone

[Lead:] Father
[Choir:] Can you hear me now

[Choir:] He will say

[Lead:] He will say yes
[Choir:] yes, yes, yes, yes

[Lead:] say yes lord
[Choir:] yes, yes

[Lead:] yes to your will jesus, yes to your will
[Choir:] yes, yes

[Lead:] come on say yes
[Choir:] yes, yes, yes, yes

[Lead:] say yes
[Choir:] yes, yes

[Lead:] come on raise your hand an say yes
[Choir:] yes, yes

Ooh Lord can you heal even me lord see I’m comin to you lord just as
I am I’m in need of the blood of the lamb oh my oh my soul say yes

[ad lib and the choir: continues with ‘yes,yes’

Copying, imitation and plagiarism

So the other day I listened to a Jon Courson podcast where he was talking about Timothy. He talked of how Paul wanted him to copy everything he had taught him and teach others and also encourage them to do the same. I had been a bit miffed about some guy who stole a post I had done and tried to pass it off as his own. This podcast helped put things in perspective for me.

1. There is nothing new under the sun

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV) declares

9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

One cannot argue with the scriptures. We all have at one point or another been excited about something considering it life-changingly new only to find that it has been done before by others, or even if not, perhaps in a different way. The method may be different but generally, almost all has either been done or considered before. In an interestingly named publication called the Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce put it in a ‘new’ perspective

There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
US author & satirist (1842 – 1914)

So next time you experience, see or hear something and you find it new, well maybe it is just new to you.

2. Some copying is necessary

If you have gone through the Kenyan education system, I am sure you remember spending many sleepless nights cramming text books that we were given so that we learn things we were being taught in exactly the way we were supposed to learn them. The teachers were also just teaching these things the way they had been taught to teach. In fact, a lot of exams were passed by just copying the texts you were given, memorizing them as they were. I remember really struggling especially in English Literature, where we were required to think and come up with our own opinions. This was, for many of us, unfamiliar territory.

Whether it is okay or not, we have to admit that there are situations where if you do not comply, you will find yourself in trouble.

3. You cannot copy all the stuff all the time

I think in the blogosphere it is important that we apply our individuality and uniqueness in our posts. If all my posts are copy pasted from other bloggers, what is the point? We are all unique human beings with unique attributes that cannot be wholly copied all the time. They may copy all your text but they will never be able to copy all your attitudes, thoughts, motivation, context or ideas. Ideas are a very interesting thing, there is hardly a shortage of them. They seem to lead to others. Richard Weaver’s book in 1948 is titled “Ideas have consequences”. You cannot have an idea and remain the way you were without thinking about it and finding a treasure of other ideas when you begin to. We all act according to our beliefs. We cannot act differently from our beliefs for very long. After a while, we will change our beliefs. Then again, this is the internet, copying stuff from the internet and putting it back on the internet does not seem to be a useful activity. No? Maybe it’s just me…

4. It is good manners to acknowledge your sources.

There are times you just have to copy something. The good thing about the internet is that instead of copying, you can just put a link to the content you are referring to. I have done this for a long time especially with pictures, cartoons and YouTube videos. That way, your post is just a link pointing people to the source of your content and thereby you acknowledge your sources. It is actually a double-edged sword of sorts since you will both acknowledge your source but also be able to pass the responsibility to them if it turns out they were lying!

5. Some copying is unforgivable

When I first heard Hardstone singing ‘Uhiki’, I was kinda impressed, but it did not take long before I realised that though he had put his own lyrics, the music was basically Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’. Since then, I have generally frowned upon such shameless plagiarism. There is a local ‘hit’ that sounds so close to Brenda Fassie’s ‘Vulindlela’ that I have been completely unable to enjoy or appreciate it. I am sure you can all think of such situations. Copycats should be exposed when they seem to want to pass off copied stuff as their own. You can copy things for fun, a bit like the way Eric Omondi does for some music Kajairo style, corrupting lyrics and such. But if you want to be considered a ‘real’ artist and not just a joker or comedian, you need to style up. What do you think?

Tuendelee kuongea

CeCe Winans—“More Than What I Wanted”

This is a wonderful song. I think it means a lot more to those who have Eph. 3:20 in mind as they listen. She is beautiful, deep and has a wonderful ministry. She has sang a lot with her brother Bebe.

Enjoy. See you Monday

Tuendelee kuongea

The lyrics

I wasn’t looking
All the colors were gray
It’s hard to notice
When You’re out in the rain

All of a sudden
Colors are starting to change
You brought the light
Now the darkness is gone

The search is over now I know You are the one
Somebody tell me
Where did an angel come from?
‘Cause You’re more than just the one

Yeah, You’re more than what I wanted
Everything I never had
Gotta get right to Your heart
You can show me where it’s at

You are the miracle I needed so bad
You’re more than what I wanted
Everything I never had

Somethin’ about You, can’t say what it is
Thought You should know that
You are the reason I live
I would do anything to make you
Believe me somehow
So I’m telling you now

That You’re more than what I wanted
Everything I never had
Gotta get right to Your heart
You can show me where it’s at

You are the miracle I needed so bad
You’re more than what I wanted
Everything I never had

Just let me say I would die for You
Give all I have to prove my love is true
And I’ll never let you go

More than what I wanted
Everything I never had
Gotta get right to Your heart
You can show me where it’s at

You are the miracle I needed so bad
You’re more than what I wanted
Everything I never had

Monday five – 07/11/2011

The mojo keeps reducing. One of these days I will stop writing. I find myself leaving the post until the last minute of Monday. Do you have any ideas? Being a serious blogger is tough business. Day by day I respect serious bloggers more and more. This is not an easy commitment. I intend to keep my end of the bargain till the very end. I once found a blogger who decided to chronicle her weight loss programme. The blog post eventually tapered off and to the best of my knowledge she is nowhere near as skinny as she had promised us and herself. It is hard enough to just push posts day by day, (unless of course you are Savvykenya while you get involved in the activities you have promised your readers, like losing weight, following Oprah’s advise daily for a year, chronicling your final days in a dying man’s journal, or even preparing yourself for the Boston marathon. At some point, especially when the rubber meets the road, it get harder.

Anyway, on to today’s issues.

1. Baba na Mama for a weekend

I am guilty, as some husbands are of taking my wife and what she does for granted. We all think that if she wasn’t around we would manage somehow. Well, I recently had a chance to test this for myself and I can tell you, I think I would be lost without my wife. Managing the boys, from ensuring that they have done their homework, showered without getting into an argument as if it is written somewhere on their backs that they will dissolve if they are washed more than once in any 24hr period, ensuring that their school uniforms are washed, ironed and decent. One has a notorious habit of forgetting his sweaters in school especially if it is meant to rain really hard the next morning. I did even think of stapling it to his shirt at some point. Books that were meant for homework are conveniently forgotten in school. Aiii. I am convinced that all mothers have a hidden power behind them that keeps them going without resorting to violence. My boys’ room sometimes looks like a bombing has just occured and the boys have just barely made it out alive. One more week of this and I would surely go insane. Big up to my wife, and all hardworking mothers everywhere. You surely are superwomen.

2. My dad joins Facebook

So this friend request came and it was a bit of an issue as to whether to accept or not. Not that I don’t like my dad. It’s just that I think he may be in for a bit of a shock. Ok, maybe I am being over-protective of him. Maybe I fear he will see things that may shock him, not on my profile or my wall of course, but those of my many fb friends, whose posts I cannot control. Maybe it is the many acronyms that may take a while to figure out. LOL does not mean Lots of Love, WTF does not mean Welcome to Facebook, etc. I guess it is my turn to feel this way. I am sure he felt like that when he had to leave me in school for the first time, send me to campus after warning me sternly to stay off politics, or even going home after our wedding. Oh well, whatever happens, I hope he will have fun in Facebook.

3. Kibaki and roads

I don’t think I will ever get over how well the Kibaki govt. has done on the road infrastructure of this nation. Thika road will be the crowning jewel in this excellent achievement. We are already getting confused on the few sections that are opened and there is more yet to come. I am not sure whether Moi reads this blog but every time I pass Thika Rd, I wanna call him and just say “Mzee, shame on you. You could have done this in 1988 if you wanted”. There was a time Kenyatta Avenue was so dilapidated it looked like a back alley in Kalundu Market. But please let’s be careful. The roads are good lakini let us drive reasonably and not treat them like little airstrips.

4. KFC and Planet yoghurt at the Junction

Hmmm… These are some of the activities my boys and I engaged in as I baba na mamad them. I gather KFC is the main cause of traffic as you enter this shopping mall. The more thorough searching of vehicles now is not helping the situation. KFC is an interesting experience. I cannot be doing this very often for the obvious reason that you would have to apply for a co-operative loan every so often to afford it. But just never go there when their computer systems decide to go on the blink. They do not seem to have any manual system they can use to sell. You will be stuck in the queue until they fix the system. This time it took long. The boys were getting tired and cranky and I still could not convince them we go to Kenchic. Then Planet Yoghurt, hmmmm… This is a good place. Very expensive but very good. Frozen yoghurt is a delightful experience. Don’t let the “only Ksh. 16 per 10g” fool you. It adds up quickly. I think between the three of us we had a kilo of yoghurt. Do the math. This was almost the same amount we had spent at KFC.

5. A Kalonzo Presidency

I know I may be flamed for this but it is beginning to look like this can actually happen. I read an article that almost convinced me that this can happen. It looks possible. More possible than it ever did. I am praying for our country. Even if it does happen, let me go on record that my gut feeling is that this would not be a good thing for our country. My reasons are varied and range from the sensible to the simply unexplainable. Kalonzo can easily end up being seen as the “least bad” option. What do you think?

Tuendelee kuongea