What are you searching for? Part 1

In order to find online articles, readers may visit a website directly, find links on social media, applications or through search engines. WordPress provides statistics regarding referrals to their blogs and often displays the search terms used. In 2013 Google started the mas expansion of search terms they encrypt for privacy reasons. As a result, WordPress displays “unknown search terms” when the search terms are encrypted. A few months ago I decided to take some screenshots whenever I am able to see the search terms, just so I know how readers find my blog. I was alarmed! Here are the results:

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So someone wanted to find out the temperature in degrees Celsius required to bake a potato pudding.

To bake sweet potato pudding requires at least 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Whatsapp adventist” not sure what this person was looking for. Is there a Whatsapp group for Adventists?

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“Aldeam Facey” – Oh crap they are searching for me! *runs and hides*

To find out how to get your driver’s license in Jamaica, click here.

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“Making jelly on Jamaican sweet potato pudding”

My mother does this all the time without fail but for me it only works when I use a real coconut (not the processed ones) and extra water. See recipe here.

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There are Whatsapp groups for relationships and single Seventh Day Adventists? Interesting.

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“How to masturbate a boy”

What!? You know you are doing something wrong when someone searches for ‘how to masturbate a boy’ and your blog pops up. I’m pretty sure they didn’t find the help they needed.

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“What will a church say when you get pregnant and not married”

Well they will say a lot of things. But here is how you should react!

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More Whatsapp!

“Are Jamaicans SDA” – Well I am and we do have a very large movement here #theremnantchurch!

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“Where is the learners license office found in Jamaica”

It’s at:

15b Old Hope Road
Cross Roads, St. Andrew
*Next to the RBTT Bank

That last one shocked me! What were they looking for?! Better question, Why did my blog pop up? #worried

– Aldeam Facey 2015

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The Detrimental Effects Of Liberation

As a grand son of slavery, I must express my gratitude for the liberation of my people. I am thankful that the dark world of the oppressors was enlightened with the light of sanity and society now moves towards valuing all lives equally. In an ideal society there is no segregation, no discrimination and the freedom to express one’s self is guaranteed. But like the laws of physics, the ideal is just a theory, a concept that can never be achieved. As time progresses we move closer towards an ideal society but we will never get there. The reason for this is the vast variations of beliefs and cultures. In order to have an ideal society, we would all have to be the same gender, colour, height, of the same religious group AND denomination etc. While these variations exist society creates laws that govern our interactions. Laws that restrict activities for the safety of ourselves and others. Without these laws, there would be chaos.

Rainbow skull.

Liberation counters the binding effects of laws. Laws are constantly changing to facilitate freedom making once illegal activities, the norm. Marijuana has been decriminalized and while the negative effects of smoking marijuana are not as pronounced when compared to drinking alcoholic beverages, it’s decriminalization will encourage more users. This is very good for business, but bad for health (depending on how it is used). It is not fair to desire and acquire liberty for ourselves but make attempts to prevent others from achieving the same. Everyone should be free, as long as this freedom considers the conservation of all living resources.

So recently the gay community of the United States of America have been granted the right to marriage. I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, Biologically speaking, it is not ‘natural’. I also believe that though a legal union, marriage is glued by the laws of God, a God who does not support homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22). But while this liberating movement is one with which I strongly disagree, does it really affect me? Does it remove the food on my table? At first I thought I wouldn’t want my child to grow in a world thinking such things are right, and I still do support this thought. The dreadful thing is that there are so many other things out there we wouldn’t want our children to assume is okay, drugs, sexual promiscuity etc. It will be the duty of parents to raise their children with a firm moral foundation. But we cannot stop liberation as society blindly supports anything with the word ‘freedom’ attached, while trampling the very thought of restrictions.

I have observed here in Jamaica that regarding homosexuality, educated persons are more ‘tolerant’ of the lifestyle even if they are of differing beliefs. Conversely, less educated persons are less tolerant. This is just an observation which I believe presents a great research opportunity. It is the absence of tolerance which makes this liberation detrimental. I can recall having a group conversation about homosexuality, where one person strongly shared his view that ‘batty bwoy fi dead’ (gay men should die), not knowing that the group consisted of persons more inclined towards the support of this lifestyle. This led to a major disagreement.

In the US just one year ago, the court ruled that a Christian bakery illegally discriminated against a gay couple for refusing to bake them a wedding cake. This is no simple issue, refusing to offer a service may be classified as discrimination, but offering the service may be contrary to their moral values. In such a case, whose freedom is being restricted? A homosexual marriage is never ordained by God so a pastor or priest should never be forced or asked to participate in such ceremonies. I assure you many more cases such as these will reoccur as the world is becoming a large ball of confusion. It is quite obvious that the ruling forces are trying to change the minds of society towards homosexuality. All the major hit TV shows have some amount of homosexuality; Game of Thrones, Spartacus, Modern Family, Family Guy and Orange is the New Black just to name a few. They convey worlds where it is normal to be abnormal. It is working?

I would not appreciate being unable to practice my religious beliefs though I know not everyone supports my belief. The same goes for other groups. The only way we can move forward is to be as objective as possible. With these issues, objectivity requires a high level of intellect, one that is achieved through education.

We all know blacks are still being oppressed as there are persons who still support racial discrimination. Complete freedom is an illusion, we will never be totally free and in some cases this is a good thing. But as we wait for the second coming of Jesus, let us live with the complete freedom of salvation.

The most detrimental effect of liberation, is societal tension.

– Aldeam Facey

Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding Recipe

Cornmeal pudding is very easy to prepare and has been a favorite among Jamaicans for as long as I can remember.

Ingredients:

3 Cups Cornmeal

3/4 Cups Flour

2 Cups Sugar

1 Teaspoon Salt

2 Teaspoon Cinnamon Extract

1 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon Mixed Spice

2 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 Sachet of Maggie Coconut Milk

Raisins (optional)

Directions:

Mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt together.

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Add water to mix the sachet of coconut milk then slowly add coconut milk to the dry ingredients (2 cups of water is needed)

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Add vanilla, mixed spice, cinnamon extract and grated nutmeg. Add raisins if desired then pour mixture into baking tin and bake at 375 degrees (F) for 1.5 hours.

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Allow it to cool for at least 1 hour before you devour.

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– Aldeam Facey 2015

How To Get Good Customer Service In Jamaica

It is well known that Jamaica has very bad customer service, at least when relating with other Jamaicans. Customer service agents (CSAs), whether by phone or in person, make it quite obvious that your problems are of no interest to them. Could it be that Jamaican CSAs are so honest, so real, that no form of hypocrisy or pretense can be expressed? Is the pay too little? Are there no sanctions for substandard customer service? Whatever the reason, nothing justifies bad customer service. The customer is always right.

Customer Service

I have worked a number of years in customer service and I know how critical it is for businesses that CSAs respect their customers. I recall working for Amazon.com, every call was recorded and disrespecting a customer was an offense which warranted immediate termination. I was surprised to see how well the Jamaican agents performed! We were on top of the world, literally, where customer satisfaction was concerned. It is interesting to note that we were being paid just about 25% of the pay American CSAs were paid, for better quality work. Given that the pay wasn’t anything to smile about, what was it that kept us motivated to excel? Were we enthused with the idea of communicating with the glorious American customers who were so very nice to us? I believe it was the desperate financial need, the managers with whips at our backs and the threat of termination. I must say, however, it was not a difficult job and I am thankful for that opportunity as I learned quite a lot. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe sanctions are enforced as readily here in Jamaica when CSAs disrespect customers. It could also be due to the fact that in the USA customers are very dangerous people, they know their rights and never refrain from employing its use.

I remember my first time calling Dominoes Pizza. I was just a hungry guy trying to fill a hole of sadness with the food of gladness. I assumed it would have been a quick, easy call. I didn’t know the specifics or the offerings of the franchise and upon inquiry I was greeted with sighs and tones of frustration. I completed the order, eventually, and asked that when dealing with first time customers, she (wish I remembered her name) should be more courteous. She pretended nothing was said and replied “Wait 45 minutes for delivery!” then hung up. Yes! Hung up! Oh my heart burned within me and I declared that I would make no more orders from Dominoes Pizza. This is an example of the many substandard customer service we Jamaicans receive on a daily basis. While I would love to call the names of all the companies which provide terrible customer service, I will allow you to make you comments or share experiences in the comment section below.

I learned many strategies for dealing with angry customers. Some of these strategies can be employed by a customer who would like to receive top class customer service. It is the duty of the CSA to provide these services but given our current situation you may find these quite useful until our customer service departments are improved.

How to get very good customer service

  • Greet with a smile – Smiles are contagious so when approaching a CSA, smile and make eye contact. I can assure you, you will receive a much better response when compared to a straight face approach. This strategy cannot work via phone and it is dependent on the situation. If you are an angry customer, you may find this strategy very difficult.
  • Ask how they are doing – Some of us are just full of ourselves, so talking about ourselves is always a pleasure. Asking this question gives the CSA the impression that you care but you are just doing this so you can get the service you deserve.
  • Ask about their experiences – Try to get the CSA to imagine themselves in your positions. Ask: Has this ever happened to you? Imagining they are in the same position will influence them to make an increased effort to solve your problem.
  • Use their names – Build rapport. Yes, its like doing their work for them but having a conversation and remembering their names will make a significant positive impact.
  • Be brief – Most CSAs want you gone in the first minute. In some cases they are assessed based on the number of contacts they made so being brief makes them happy. Happy CSA = respected customer.
  • Use a little creole – They have to speak standard English (acrolect) every day all day. It is reviving to hear a little of the mother tongue. Just a little, and not while venting. It will put the CSA at ease.
  • Compliment/thank the CSA – Thank the CSA for a job well done. Where possible, give a commendation. It is also nice to give compliments. I remember talking to this lady who asked if I work at a radio station. I said no and she told me I had such a lovely voice, she would just sit and listen to me all day! I nearly fainted, never blushed so much in my life. That lady could have me do anything for her after that compliment! I was all hers.

If none of the aforementioned strategies work, please report CSA to manager, recommending their immediate dismissal.

 

– Aldeam Facey 2015

Badminton: My Addiction

I love sports, I guess most guys do, and I play cricket, football and volleyball fairly well. I don’t get the opportunity to try new sports very often but just over a year ago, a ‘Flaavaful’ friend of mine invited me to play a game called badminton with him and a group of friends. My first impression was that it was an interesting game but it may be too easy for me. Hitting a flying shuttle back and forth didn’t appear to provide the thrill and complexity of chess. As with other things in my life, if its too easy, I don’t want it. Fortunately, I stayed and tried it out for a while. To my surprise, I missed more shuttles than I hit and learning all the rules made it clear, this game was no easy woman. Since then, I have been on a quest to improve, to learn, to master.

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Playing Wednesday and Saturday nights really improved my game and before long, I was hooked. There are always players much better than I am, and my aim is to beat them, while having fun. Badminton, is an extremely fun and unpredictable game. The more I play, the more I learn and eventually I realized that being able to return the shuttle won’t make me a good player. It becomes necessary to use strategies and deception to earn points. You are an excellent player when you are able to constantly fool or tire your opponent. The game takes quite a lot of focus and it is interesting to observe the reactions of players who make simple errors. Badminton remind me that we are all human, and mistakes, though simple are often made. Missing a shot is a beginners mistake, but occasionally a seasoned player, in an intense match may miss a shuttle. This results in a feeling of rage and profanities often flows to the tip of the tongue. Fortunately, due to my positive upbringing, such profanities fail to verbally express themselves. In lieu of profanities, Christian friends would utter sounds such as “Grrrrr!” “ahhhh!” or “Mutah!!!” which helps to cool the burning feeling of disappointment.

Badminton always brings a very good vibe. An atmosphere of laughter, good conversations and a substantial work out, blinds us to the fact that we may be completely different people, with varying beliefs or cultural backgrounds. I use badminton as a channel to relieve the stress of school and work. Days may be very rough, with problems only God would understand, but a good round of badminton, win or lose, washes the pain away. It has become like a drug, It is my cocaine, it is my marijuana, a smoking hot game gets me high. I can remember having my PhD upgrade seminar presentation on a Thursday morning and I was up playing badminton at 12am. It really helped me to relax.

Let’s look at the history of Badminton

Badminton, for most of the twentieth century, was not a very popular sport worldwide but it has been around for over 2,000 years. Over 2,000 years ago it was played in Greece, India and China but was called ‘battledore and shuttlecock’. In this case the aim was simply keeping the shuttlecock up as long as possible while hitting it from one person to the other. Battledore and shuttlecock, according to the Badmintonworld Federation, was considered to be an upper class past-time activity in England and many European countries in the 17th century. In the 19th century a smart person decided to include a net. At this time the game was called “poon” and was played in India. The game was taken back to England and used to entertain the guests of the Duke of Beaufort at his home, a place called “Badminton” in Gloucestershire. The sport was named after this place. The International Badminton Federation (IBF) was formed in 1934 and India joined as an affiliate in 1936, just 3 years before the second world war. The first major IBF tournament was 1948, 3 years after the second world war. Badminton was never featured in the Olympics until 1992 (Barcelona) but has been a part of the commonwealth games ever since it was introduced here in Jamaica in 1966 as a commonwealth program sport.

Final word

I encourage you to try this sport if u haven’t, you won’t be disappointed. If I were to rate this sport on a scale of 1-10, I would give it a very very strong 8!
You may view an epic rally from a Wednesday night’s clash here:

The Mighty Rally!

– Aldeam Facey 2015

Art On Campus: UWI Mona

Paintings, sculptures and other art works found at the UWI Mona Campus. This post may be updated periodically.

– Aldeam Facey 2015

Transactions At The University Of The West Indies, Mona – A Postgraduate Student’s Point Of View

The Mphil/PhD programs at the University of the West Indies are research based programs which demand a lot of time and resources. Tuition is usually covered in exchange for work done at the associated departments. This work includes tutoring or demonstrating laboratory exercises. Candidates are usually offered a stipend paid in quarterly installments. On paper the grass seems very green and the program is expected to run smoothly but of course this seldom, if ever occurs.

UWI MONA MAIN GATE

Where it regards payments of stipend, in my experience, it is always late, even up to two months late. While this is inconvenient that is not my primary issue with the program and I am very grateful for the opportunity to research, publish and expose the University to the competitive international world of education.

Provided that the programs are research based, it is not possible to define specifically when one will be finished. Mphil students are given up to three years to complete the program after which they can upgrade to the PhD program or graduate with an Mphil degree. It is possible, if the resources are available, to complete long before the given period, but more often than  not, based on my observations, that is not the case. There are occasionally very successful students who are able to complete the program within the proposed time frame for example Peter Nelson, who graduated last year with a PhD in Chemistry at age twenty-five.
The research projects may be funded by independent sponsors, the program supervisor who may have enough resources, or the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. I completed the Mphil program long before the proposed time frame, partially because I had to fund aspects of the study myself. I upgraded to the PhD program and received a grant from the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. In order to access the funds, one has to make request by filling out a purchase requisition form, have it signed by the head of department and attaching proof of grant received (usually a letter which states the details of the grant) along with pro forma invoices for the items requested. This is then sent to the bursary there the ‘Purchases’ section generates a purchase order. A cheque is sent to the company selling the item, who will then ship it to the department. The process seems very simple and one would expect to receive the items needed in just a few days. Right?… Wrong! What seems to be a simple process, quite often takes months and even years (I know of an incident where a student waited two years to receive an item!). If the item needed is critical for research, you may end up wasting months of your life just waiting, and there is nothing you can do about it.
If you are in the program for too long then the University with send letters to you, kindly asking you to leave, it doesn’t matter that they may be the reason for the delays, you just need to get out!

My personal experience
If you think of all the worst cases, chances are, I have experienced it. But I will just share my most recent case. I noticed over the years that most companies are reluctant to do business with the University, I now know the reason. They also require prepayments even if a purchase order is generated. For my clinical research project I collect blood samples and do amazing sciency stuff with it. The samples need to be stored in a freezer until they are tested. After years of storing my samples on borrowed freezers it has become necessary to move the samples to my lab. I received a grant from the Office of Graduate Studies and Research which I used  to order a freezer from Courts Jamaica Ltd. I assumed this would be an easy transaction given that it is not an international order and the University has done business with Courts many times before. The first problem I encountered was Courts refusal to deliver the freezer. They claimed that UWI owes them money and until funds are transferred, no delivery will be made. I contacted purchases and they gave a date when the payments will be made, after that date I did a routine follow up and confirmation was given that payment had been made. I checked with courts who denied this claim. After a back and forth battle I was asked to request the order again and a cheque will be prepared! Obviously UWI – PURCHASES department lied to me. I did as was told, and still no delivery has been made. If the transaction is not complete within a week I will purchase the item myself and request a refund (it may take up to a year for me to be refunded). That was one of the things I had to do to complete the Mphil project on time.
This happens too often for it to be an error. If there are any concerns with an order no one will call you to correct it. You have to make it you duty to follow up and often times stand over persons to ensure they do their jobs!

Solution?

  • In order for the University to be a first class  institution, international publications are needed. It is important that they make available significant funds to assist with research so more quality publications can be made.
  • They should never lie to students! If the funds are not available, just say so.
  • Notify individuals of issues relating to a transaction.
  • Pay the business /companies for items delivered. They would be more inclined to do business with the University.
  • Expedite the process from requisition to acquisition.
    This can maximize the postgraduate student turnover rate, publications, and eventually more students can be accepted.

Commendable effort
The University is well aware of some of these issues and is working to fix them. The University has been doing mass expansion across faculties and halls of accommodation so that it can accept more students. More students = more money. The University now has a yearly forum for investors on research days (usually in February) where additional funding for research is received.
The area of research is getting better in Jamaica and though slowly, in time we will be parallel with the developed world.

– Aldeam Facey 2015

Conflict Of Interest #3: Should An Unmarried Christian Buy Condoms?

It is well known that having unprotected sex often leads to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. It is also well known that premarital sex is a sin, so for a Christian abstinence is the default setting that should be employed to avoid the aforementioned consequences. Unfortunately, many of us Christians are tapping the well before talking to Jesus, riding the horse before saddling up, sailing the sea before buying the ship. Only God knows how weak we men are, when women ostentatiously display the flesh before our very eyes. So, considering this weakness, should a Christian make preparations? for the cumming. Does buying a condom make you more likely to sin, even if it was not your intention, provided the risks are minimized? It is better to be safe than sorry, when it rains it is better to be covered than exposed.

Condom Bible

Here is my story

It was years ago, long before rainbows filled the Facebook pages, long before Obama greeted the massive, before I knew how to shop for food, I was shopping at UWI’s HILO branch. Yes, HILO, where the prices are high, and the quality is low. I was getting ready to check out when I looked to the left and I saw a variety of condoms. Immediately I thought to myself that I should get a few to save for a rainy day. But there is something very special about our conscience, and conflict of interests will evoke emotions when the conscience is at work. So I looked around to ensure the coast was clear, the store was almost empty, so I picked up a extra large Rider. I hid it in the midst of my groceries then turned around, HILO was full. I didn’t know where all those customers came from but all I could think about at that time was, ‘I have boots in my cart’. I was the last person in line at the check out, three persons in total. This never happened before or after, but every second there was a problem, “void transaction”, so I was waiting there a lot longer than I wanted. To my frustration more customers joined the line. At that point I knew exactly how it feels to smuggle drugs, I just wanted to check out and be on my way. after several interruptions, it was finally my turn to check out. I placed the items on the counter, boots, craftily concealed. The cashier was however moving very slowly and there was something mysterious about the feel of the environment. At this moment a church brother of mine walked in, gave a gentle wave and a smile. Many heartbeats were skipped on that day. I waved back while faking a smile, a very guilty smile. The cashier took up the pack of condoms, so slowly that I wanted to just shout! She looked at it, then at me, then at it, then scanned it. At this moment everyone was staring at me, or so it felt. Quite possibly, they were all minding their own businesses, it was just my conscience. She then left it exposed to open eyes but I hastily bagged it, with my head held down. I left the store with cold sweat running down my face, but I did it! The farmer now had his tools, will he plant a seed?

I know premarital sex is wrong, that is why a simple transaction was that tedious for me. It is better to avoid and wait for the right time.

Men, where it regards a relationship, put a ring in it before you put your ding in it.

What are your views?

– Aldeam Facey 2015

Conflict Of Interest #2: A Stranger Sends You Credit Accidentally.

Today I received $200 credit from a number I couldn’t recognize. With a pleased countenance I tried to figure out who it was that made my day. I didn’t want to call and say ‘Who is this?’ as that may be offensive if it really was a friend.
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The person called, I answered, but before I could say thank you, the caller said ‘Never mind, wrong number.’ and hung up. Later I tried calling, no answer.  She returned the call tonight and I told her she sent a message to me erroneously. She Said ‘okay’, then hung up. I think that justifies me keeping the credit, don’t you think? Well I wanted to return it, but based on her response, I don’t think she cares. I still feel a little awkward so if I’m going to keep it, you are all going down with me. I will send $25 to the first three (3) persons who  comment.

 

– Aldeam Facey 2015