ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – ON YEMENS FORGOTTEN WAR?

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‘My embarrassing and disgust is that despite these war crimes many countries and their merchants of war have continued to sell and transfer weapons to Saudi Arabia and its coalition members for use in the conflict. ‘

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ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – ON YEMENS FORGOTTEN WAR?

Are you aware that the world has turned its back over the past year on a growing humanitarian crisis?

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Are you aware that on 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen sparking a full-blown armed conflict.

And over the following year, the conflict has spread and fighting has engulfed the entire country.

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As is the result of such tragedies there are horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, being committed throughout the country and the victims and collateral damage of such heinous crimes are again suffering civilians.

I am advised that the strategy of this illegal war is by two fronts namely – relentless bombardment by coalition forces from the air, and a battle being fought on the ground between rival factions.

And who are the players here?

We have the Huthis on one side, an armed group whose members belong to a branch of Shi’a Islam known as Zayidism.

They are aligned with supporters of Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

And of course, the opponents are the anti-Huthi forces that are allied with the current President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Saudi Arabian-led coalition.

And in the middle caught between these warring factions innocent, helpless, exposed, vulnerable civilians and noncombatants!

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As I write this piece with information from friends and international NGOs like Amnesty International another aerial bombing has taken place killing children and civilians in a hospital!

It is sheer hypocrisy and religious apartheid that the worlds puritans and selective breeders of foreign affairs deliberations have remained in comatose as thousands of civilians are trapped in the middle – thousands killed and injured and a humanitarian crisis has spiraled.

Are you aware – that over a year stakeholders of the world has ignored this raging conflict and heard little about its devastating consequences.

Is it because there is no oil here?

Is it because Yemen is an extremely poor country?

Is it because we have vested interests and politicians sucking up and kissing the asses of Saudi Arabia’s bourgeoisie for various strategic interests of certain pariah nations saying something but practicing another?

War is one thing but when various invading forces impose a partial aerial and naval blockade on areas under Huthi control to cut off supplies, it is creating a situation of genocide by severely limiting the import and provision of fuel and other essentials, obstructing access to food, water, humanitarian assistance and medical supplies and causing food prices to soar, creating a desperate situation for millions of people.

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That is not all as there is widespread damage and destruction to key logistical infrastructure, including bridges, airports and seaports, has also severely hampered the movement of crucial humanitarian supplies.

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I am not partial to any group here and I acknowledge receiving information and data that even the Huthi armed group and allied forces have endangered the lives of thousands of civilians in the southern city of Ta’iz by blocking the entry of crucial medical supplies and food in recent months.

And the result is the same we have seen in all conflict territories throughout the world!

With no medical supplies, no resources – hospitals just shut down creating a platform where civilians and others face death!

Those that still are open – very vulnerable due to a lack of supplies.

Like events in all conflict territories – there are growing human rights abuses by all sides!

I am advised that dedicated and committed friends at Amnesty International have gathered evidence revealing that all the parties to this conflict have committed violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

For the record, there is comprehensive data of more than 30 air strikes across six different governorates (Sana’a, Sa’da, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Ta’iz and Lahj) by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that appear to have violated international humanitarian law – the rules that apply during a conflict which are sometimes known as the “laws of war” – resulting in 366 civilian deaths (more than half of whom were women and children) and 272 civilian injuries.

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I must reiterate here as an attorney and expert in International law – that these included attacks that appear to have deliberately targeted civilians and civilian objects such as hospitals, schools, markets and mosques, which may amount to war crimes.

My embarrassing and disgust is that despite these war crimes many countries and their merchants of war have continued to sell and transfer weapons to Saudi Arabia and its coalition members for use in the conflict.

And yes, these arms have also been diverted into the hands of Huthi and other armed groups fighting in Yemen.

Now who are these shenanigans behind the war trade?

Prominent are the industry players from the UK, USA, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain!

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A reported licenses and sales to Saudi Arabia worth more than $25bn in 2015 including drones, bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles.

The again hypocrisy and irony is these states are parties to the Arms Trade Treaty which has the aim of “reducing human suffering” and which makes it unlawful to transfer weapons where there is a high risk they could be used to commit serious violations of international law.

From this part of the emerging world voices, I lend my voice to Amnesty International who is appealing to all states to ensure that no party to the conflict in Yemen is supplied – either directly or indirectly – with weapons, munitions, military equipment or technology that could be used in the conflict until they end such serious violations.

This also applies to logistical and financial support for such transfers.

I appeal to the decision makers and stakeholders of conscience if there are any left in these jurisdictions of UK, USA, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, please intervene to stop the unraveling tragedy!

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And to other governments and political pretenders without backbone or spine whose governments always are racially and religiously selective in addressing war crimes and carnage in line with the silos based religious interpretations and political interest, please do get off your backsides and lend your voice to end yet another international tragedy without fear of favor!

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Consumerist: Retracing – MH370 – So What Really Happened – The Truth Please!

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‘It is also a shame that till today there has been no action brought against those who failed in carrying out their duty of care, or their office with a sense of competence and professionalism!

This is an heinous crime!’

Retracing – MH370 – So What Really Happened – The Truth Please!

00:41, 8 March 2014 (16:41 GMT, 7 March): Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and was due to arrive in Beijing at 06:30 (22:30 GMT).

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Malaysia Airlines says the plane lost contact less than an hour after takeoff. No distress signal or message was sent.

01:07: The plane sent its last ACARS transmission – a service that allows computers aboard the plane to “talk” to computers on the ground. Sometime afterwards, it was silenced and the expected 01:37 transmission was not sent.

01:19: The last communication between the plane and Malaysian air traffic control took place about 12 minutes later. At first, the airline said initial investigations revealed the co-pilot had said “All right, good night”.

However, Malaysian authorities later confirmed the last words heard from the plane, spoken either by the pilot or co-pilot, were in fact “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”.

A few minutes later, the plane’s transponder, which communicates with ground radar, was shut down as the aircraft crossed from Malaysian air traffic control into Vietnamese airspace over the South China Sea.

01:21: The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said the plane failed to check in as scheduled with air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh City.

02:15: Malaysian military radar plotted Flight MH370 at a point south of Phuket island in the Strait of Malacca, west of its last known location. Thai military radar logs also confirmed that the plane turned west and then north over the Andaman sea.

In maps accompanying its 1 May report, the Malaysian government revised the time to be 02:22 and put the position further west.

02:28 (18:28 GMT, 7 March): After the loss of radar, a satellite above the Indian Ocean picked up data from the plane in the form of seven automatic “handshakes” between the aircraft and a ground station. The first was at 02:28 local time.

08:11: (00:11 GMT, 8 March) The last full handshake was at 08:11.

This information, disclosed a week after the plane’s disappearance, suggested the jet was in one of two flight corridors, one stretching north between Thailand and Kazakhstan, the other south between Indonesia and the southern Indian Ocean.

08:19: However, there is some evidence of a further “partial handshake” at this time between the plane and a ground station.

This was a request from the aircraft to log on. Investigators say this is consistent with the plane’s satellite communication equipment powering up after an outage – such as after an interruption to its electrical supply.

09:15: This would have been the next scheduled automatic contact between the ground station and the plane, but there was no response from the aircraft.

The plane’s planned route would have taken it north-eastwards, over Cambodia and Vietnam, and the initial search focused on the South China Sea, south of Vietnam’s Ca Mau peninsula.

But evidence from a military radar, revealed later, suggested the plane had suddenly changed from its northerly course to head west.

So the search, involving dozens of ships and planes, then switched to the sea west of Malaysia.

Further evidence revealed on 15 March 2014 by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak suggested the jet was deliberately diverted by someone on board about an hour after takeoff.

The issue here is one on truth!

There are a lot of potholes in the dissemination of truth here?

It is also a shame that till today there has been no action brought against those who failed in carrying out their duty of care, or their office with a sense of competence and professionalism!

This is an heinous crime!

Instead, it has been a wild ride of idiocy, foolishness, outright lies, fabrication, denials, delusional talks, a media frenzy and other media vigilantes and adventurers high jacking this narrative for their personal and private agenda!

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We all are aware that the most powerful nation in the world have assets that can solve this nightmare for an immediate 239 families whose lives are in a limbo and to the extended families and friends and others like us working in an international volunteer task force trying to pierce it all together since that morning on March 8th 2014!

But will they?

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ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – MALAYSIA HAS THE WORLDS GREATEST TOWN PLANNERS – YES OR SIMPLY NO!

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“Are our cities and construction approvals based truly on the need with emphasis on density, land use, public space and the layout of infrastructure and services to make a difference in delivering quality of life at the right price point before approval is given or are approvals given because someone’s hands is being greased?”

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ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – MALAYSIA HAS THE WORLDS GREATEST TOWN PLANNERS – YES OR SIMPLY NO!

Just look at our cities!

Look at the urban planning or lack of that goes into it!

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Take a drive into any city in Malaysia, any township, any construction or development planning or lack of and you will be shocked!

You will be wondering how on God’s earth are these town planners and administrators planning or approving construction that has created a monstrous nightmare of a concrete jungle!

They go for international – ‘Lawatan Sambil Belajar” or international excursion trips to international cities on tax payers monies and what have they learnt from planners and administrators in leading cities and municipalities around the world?

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In Malaysia – who really decides on approvals and based on what or whose criterion?

Is it the town planner, or the politicians and bureaucrats pilling pressure due to symbiotic relationships and outright corruption they enjoy with those behind such monstrous projects?

You will not be wrong to ask if planners had looked at the holistic policies on density, land use, public space and the layout of infrastructure and services making a difference in delivering quality of life at the right price point before approval is given?

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More than a decade ago when I spoke extensively as CASSA President that Subang Jaya is being planned chaotically and with business and pirate interest with a Manhattan style in pursuit I was attacked so violently and even lost my job at a leading private hospital!

But look at the chaos in Subang Jaya today and was not my prophecies of then all come true?

Look at TTDI, Damansara Jaya and Damansara Utama, areas near Bandar Utama – another madness in progress where every limited space is planned with a towering multi towered construction plan already in progress!

Those we have entrusted not just our living space and future but those of future generations should be asking what is being planned in our name!

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As far as I can recall from my days at tertiary education in Singapore and interactions with well-known and respected professionals like Dr Liu Thai Ker a Singapore architect and urban planner who—through his service as CEO of the Housing Development Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority, and Chairman of the National Arts Council—has made an indelible impact on the urban and cultural landscape in Singapore.

Or yet again, another in Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director of the Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore whose life and work speaks for itself!

Why stop there and I cannot, but also mention someone who was very close to me post my studies in Singapore, and reading law in England!

I am referring to the late beloved and admired father figure, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the man who guided Singapore from slum to eco-city since its independence in 1965!

Why cannot we learn from the world’s best like these personalities?

Why cannot we adopt those practices that have worked in a city and state like Singapore?

Sadly the majority in Malaysia has forgotten that urban planning is a valuable force for city leaders to achieve sustainable development.
It is a means to bring about a difference!

Actually, planning helps make the most out of municipal budgets by informing infrastructure and services investments, balancing demands for growth with the need to protect the environment.

That is not all as it distributes economic development within a given territory to reach social objectives and creates a framework for collaboration between local governments, the private sector and the public at large.

If one did not know or refuse to acknowledge that indeed urban planning is a framework that helps leaders transform vision into implementation, using space as a key resource for development and engaging stakeholders along the way.

And do we indeed engage?

It is not too late and if we decide to now change our present self-destructive narratives and protocols in the name of development we can still save the local habitat!

There is no substitute for good professional planning!

Is it rather difficult to acknowledge that planning is a framework for growth?

All thriving cities all over the world have a vision and follow it through with a framework to develop in an orderly manner.

A framework is not about centralized command and control but a way to anticipate needs, coordinate efforts, and draw a path to a horizon that is collectively held.

In the narrative there are major efforts to enhance livability, prosperity and equity taking place.

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Such transformation impact is not a product of spontaneity, instead of constructive planning.

In fact I will go so far to say that a planned city is a well prepared city
Anticipating the future allows us to be better prepared today.
So this brings us back to the key point!

Are our cities and construction approvals based truly on the need with emphasis on density, land use, public space and the layout of infrastructure and services to make a difference in delivering quality of life at the right price point before approval is given or are approvals given because someone’s hands is being greased?

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ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – NO MORE ROLE MODELS IN MALAYSIA ONLY SCAVENGERS AND CROOKS?

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“When we take millions as gratification from politicians, captains of industry, individuals to defame or embarrass a political opponent, their wife or competition, in our writings, exposures, blogs, comments, – is that not heinous and a perverse action that brings shame to our GOD, our prayers, our pilgrimages and our fasting and prayers and most importantly our family?

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ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – NO MORE ROLE MODELS IN MALAYSIA ONLY SCAVENGERS AND CROOKS?

My classmates and I meet very often!

We are the old boys and girls from St Marks Secondary School in Butterworth.

A truly mixed racial and religious group.

There are also those who have converted from their past religion but when we meet, I can safely say we are truly a band of brothers!

Recently, we have been troubled at what we see happening to our nation Malaysia!

We are saddened, shocked and irritated at the manner those who were trusted and admired let us down.

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We are embarrassed when academically qualified men and women with so many honorifics can utter the most idiotic and insane comment!

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We can understand the madness uttered by fanatics, fascist, race and religious baiters, thugs, shenanigans, the rent a crowd specialists saying the most bizarre things!

But how can you comprehend many who are known and appointed religious leaders, people of the cloth, heads of religions uttering what mainline religious teaching despise and reject?

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When we take millions as gratification from politicians, captains of industry, individuals to defame or embarrass a political opponent or competition, in our writings, exposures, blogs, comments, – is that not heinous and a perverse action that brings shame to our GOD, our prayers, our pilgrimages and our fasting and prayers and most importantly our family?

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There is that difference of night and day but today in Malaysia 2016 – it is truly embarrassing that we have all fallen short and our actions, omissions and failure to register ourselves as true role models will be judged by future generations who may even desecrate our graves to show their discontent at us for our failures to uphold truly accountability, truth, justice and a way of life that gives praise and admiration to the religious beliefs we profess!

Which brings us to that important pertinent question!

When you have a tough decision to make, who do you ask for advice?

Who do you seek for that important answer?

That right choice irrespective even if the world ends now?

This is what my dear friends and I have been discussing.

Really, positive role models are not just for school kids, our children and grandchildren.

Are you aware that every day people guide us through their actions, profound words and achievements just as they do with their abominations, lack of duty of care, lies, fabrication, improper actions and criminal acts!

And once role models are extinct it is game over.

But why is that we need such role models and what qualities do they possess that result in admiration by others? Can you and I be a positive role model?

And really what are the qualities of a positive role model?

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As adults, we often seek positive role models in people who have unique qualities we like to possess. By examining these people’s behavior, words and accomplishments, we determine those characteristics that we value most.

For me first are they genuine?

This is the ability to relate to others, even those very different from you, in their reality. This quality overflows from major world caregivers, such as Gandhi and Mother Theresa. Their greatness comes not from trying to be significant, but by seeing the significance in others.

Their motto in life was simply others!

They were not political pretenders and bullshit actors and actress we have parading today and often seeking the limelight in the society pages, the mainstream media, through programs and activities where they are the center of activity and focus not others!

Are our role models truly confident?

Confident because they uphold righteousness, goodness, truth and not being political pretenders!

Demonstrating strength and confidence draws admirers.

We all want to believe that we do not need others to define or validate us, but for many people, self-confidence is elusive.

People who exhibit great certainty in their position in this world are appealing and attractive.

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In the modern world, confidence replaces the bravery of the ancient world.

But it must be a confidence that comes out of truth not falsity!

Most importantly, are these role models humble?

The wisdom to know that there will always be someone smarter, faster, more attractive or more successful than you demonstrates maturity.

Giving credit to those who helped you achieve your goals keeps you believable.

“No man is an island,” said John Donne, a clergyman and poet, 350 years ago.

That statement could not be truer today in Malaysia!

Role models understand that no one acquires greatness alone.

Sir Isaac Newton modestly noted, “If I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

My late father a lead headmaster and peer of our founding fathers and first two premiers always schooled me on this one!

He will ask me repeatedly in my growing up years beside him in Sungei Petani, Kedah, Taiping and Sungei Galah in Perak – are you a careful listener?

To him, people who listen more and talk less naturally appear wiser.

They become the people that others turn to because they exhibit self-control and a desire to understand.

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When I was about to do my chaplaincy training at Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia in the late 70s and early 80s on University summer breaks and training, my supervisor Rev Dr Roy Bradley, the Father of Clinical Pastoral education (CPE) use to advise me to think of someone I know who listens well.

Roy will say – Jacob, what is your impression of this person?

Consider how you feel when you answer that and that someone really listens to you.

Me a mere student then, with the father of modern CPE!

A real role model must be one who has overcome great odds!

Why?

The ability to persevere causes a person to be outstanding. Anyone who overcomes great odds, resulting in a stronger character, is a person to emulate.

We all struggle with different areas of our lives.

Yet, it’s not the struggle that ends up being important but rather our response to that challenge narratives in our lives.

I recall the case in 1976, where a diving accident left one Joni Eareckson Tada as a quadriplegic, eliminating even the use of her hands.

Joni, whose name has become an international symbol for determination, is the CEO of Joni and Friends, a faith-based ministry for disabled people.

Her ability to overcome an enormous, permanent setback opened the door for her to become a role model for others.

This brings us to another point and that of success!

In one of that many sessions as I sat by my dad post gardening, with him having his hot coffee he will turn to me and say:

“I don’t care what you do in this life, even if you’re the gardener, just be an expert at it and everyone will seek you out.”

Although we all have different opinions of success, when we consider role models, we seek out those who demonstrate our viewpoints.

When striving to improve in your profession, finding a role model who meets your definition of success can be helpful. While you don’t want to become that person, learning from his or her success is wise.

By the way are our role models truly generous?

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According to Forbes, Oprah Winfrey, someone I always wanted to meet, was the first black woman to be titled a billionaire.

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She gives hope, financial support and fights for the rights and interests of others in need when she simply could be a highly successful entrepreneur and talk show host.

Role model candidates understand that their quality of life improves when they help those in need.

For example, Bono, nominated for three Nobel Peace prizes for his international work fighting poverty could be living the rock star life.

He has a larger world view than the average person, saying “The attention of the world might sometimes be elsewhere, but history is watching. It’s taking notes. And it’s going to hold us to account, each of us.”

This is a very powerful statement and a great advice to Malaysians in all tiers of life and responsibilities, that at this juncture of our nation’s history and happenings that have brought us shame, ridicule and embarrassment!

Bono understands the responsibilities that come with being a role model.

This brings us to an important question?

Can I Be a Role Model?

Everyone has the capability to become a role model. You may already play that role for someone and not even know it.

You do not have to be famous, a brilliant scientist or a published author to be a role model for other adults.

I can quickly think of 6 efforts that you can make toward becoming a role model include:

Be Real – It is tempting at times to behave the way we think others want to see us. Being yourself is risky, as there is always a chance of rejection, but wouldn’t you rather be assured that the people you are attracting find the real you interesting?

Always be available – Isolating yourself from the world can feel safer, but it also prevents you from important interaction with your fellow man.

Have lunch, dinners, meets with colleagues rather than eating at your desk, help a friend move and make sure that the majority of your social interaction doesn’t occur on the computer.

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Yes, be involved – as doing charitable work, joining a church, Mosque, Temple or teaching a class all offer opportunities for you to get involved in larger projects and organizations.

Choose volunteer work that has a personal connection for you or allows you to use your gifts and abilities for the good of those in need.

Truly be a Listener – Sometimes people just need an ear. They don’t need you to solve the problem or offer advice.

You learn a lot about someone simply by listening. The more you listen now, the greater the likelihood of you being listened to later when your advice or assistance is seriously needed.

Yes be that encouraging person – Direct people to a more positive outlook. Emphasize their strengths and abilities to overcome challenges.

Please do give others credit!

When working with others, always point out the efforts of your coworkers, whether it’s a volunteer project or your profession.

They will be grateful and most importantly, they will likewise imitate that quality you shared with them with others and they will never forget you!

This is priceless!

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ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – SUNDAY MUSINGS!

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A great insight on Consumerism or should I say – Consumption Ethics?

Will be my opening line at the next Keynote Address I need to give!

“Whether you drive a BMW or Maruti, the road remains the same.

Whether you fly Economy or Business Class, your destination doesn’t change.

Whether you wear a Titan or Rolex, time remains the same.

Whether you use a Samsung or Apple, the people who call you are the same.

There is nothing wrong in dreaming about a luxurious life.

What needs to be seen is that need doesn’t become greed, because needs can always be met… but greed can never be fulfilled! – India’s Super Star – Rajnikanth

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