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Feeling Comfortable With Winning

There was a comment on Nick Bryant’s Australia Blog that the Olympics euphoria won’t last because we British just don’t feel comfortable with winning. Well I can tell you that I feel VERY comfortable with it.

 

olympics  Perhaps the final table won’t look like that (I don’t really care!) but honestly I can’t see Australia or Germany surpassing Team GB now as they are on 11 Golds. Team GB have been amazing and inspiring and makes you feel proud to be British, something we don’t say or show enough of.

The British Library: Expressions of Faith

I recently found out that the British Library in London holds some amazing pieces of Sikh Manuscripts. The most amazing of these is the "Guru Granth Sahib" (The Sikh Holy Book) but what is remarkable is that is the oldest known version outside of India and one the 20 oldest known in existence. It dates from c1660-75 which is the time of the Ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and his son the Tenth and Final Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It was only in 1699 that the Khalsa was formed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji and he declared that after him the Sikhs should only follow the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. So, it became the living embodiment of our Faith and it is treated with the utmost respect and reverence. I’m not sure if it is a good or bad thing that the British Library owns such a rare part of the Sikh Faith. You could argue that it might have been destroyed if it had remained in India through various upheavals. I understand it has been restored with funds from the Sikh Education Council.

The collection also contains the Prayer Book of Rani Jindan Kaur, the wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who fought two wars with the British before the Punjab was finally annexed. His son Maharaja Duleep Singh was shipped off to England, converted to Christainity (later went back to being a Sikh) and become a favourite of Queen Victoria. This was when the famour Koh-i-Nor diamond was somehow given/taken from Duleep Singh and now is part of the Queen’s Crown Jewels ("To the Victor the Spoils"). Duleep Singh is buried in Elveden Church in Norfolk. How strange that the last Maharaja of the Sikh Nation’s resting place is only 100 miles away from me. There is a Sikh Memorial to him there but I’ve never visited or seen it and to be honest I didn’t know it even existed until quite recently.

It’s amazing to think how intertwined the history of Britain and the Sikhs are and I guess why my parents came to this country back in the 1960s.

Within the collection there is a picture of Guru Nanak Ji, the founder of Sikhism with his two followers one which was a Muslim and one a Hindu. The message from this and from the Sikh Faith is of the equality of Religious belief.

The opening words of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is "Ek on Kar" meaning "One God"!

Daily Telegraphy reports "Sikh Regiment dumped over Racism Fears"

I  saw this article on the online Daily Telegraph, that plans for a Sikh Regiment had been scrapped by the British Army over fears of being considered "racist". It’s actually supported by UK Sikh Community leaders and I can safely say that it would be supported by most Sikhs in the UK. I think this would’ve sent a great signal as to the reality of integration into UK Society. Too often people question the loyalty of those who are from Immigrant families, especially in the post 9/11 and 7/7 era. In the US Sikhs wearing their turbans were mistaken for Taliban and attacked.

This move for a UK Sikh Regiment was reportedly backed by Prince Charles but obviously Political Correctness has won the day but that still doesn’t stop the British Army recruiting from Nepal for the Gurkha Regiment!

At a time when the British Army is struggling to recruit and is over-stretched with deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, then this would help to ease the burden.

The Daily Telegraph (not known for its Left Leaning view) also has an article on Sikh Gallantry and the fact that the British had a Sikh Regiment previously which also fought in the Two World Wars with 10 Victoria Crosses won and the Indian Sikh Regiment is the most decorated Regiment in the Indian Army. But you won’t hear their stories on Armistice Day on the televised broadcasts on Remembrance Sunday. Yet, we’ve had to fight to wear our Karas in State Schools and other religious symbols and that is why I say we’ve earnt our rights.

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Getting Fit

I did something remarkable last week and started going to the gym! Like many people I’m sure, I’d been paying for a local gym but never using it. I managed 3 sessions last week and plan to keep this up. I started all this by going running with my son who is 8.5 years old on a mile long run and it was hell (for me at least) and I had to keep stopping. That’s pretty pathetic as I have in the past run a couple of half marathons at about just under the 2 hour mark and a 10K in about 47 mins. I know I’m not going to break any world records as I’m not really a distance runner. I only ever did it because I was playing rugby (before I broke my arm and had to have a metal plate in it) and five-a-side league football. The training was a means to an end i.e. to play competitive sports. Training and keeping fit for it’s own sake was never my thing.

After the initial pain and just wanting to give up I’m starting to enjoy it and even within a week and a half I’m feeling much better and enjoying it. There’s no competitive end to it now, so it’s just about getting fit and staying healthy. It’s easy in the jobs we do to be just stuck sitting down and eating rubbish food, that is when we actually grab any lunch.

The gym sessions are for fitness are split in two. The first bit is all aerobic with a 10 min run on treadmill (approx 1.5km), 6 min (1000m) rowing, 6 min cyling. The second bit is weights (not heavy weights) with 12 x 3 reps of each and ending with situps. I could see from the heart rate monitor on the bikes my heart rate was high at about 170, meaning my body was having to work quite hard but in this week that has started to come down with doing the same intensity a sign  that my body is adjusting. Already, I’m thinking of mixing this up with some circuit training and running in between the gym sessions. I’m trying to make time to do this and not make excuses as to why I shouldn’t go.

One of my motivations is my wife who been getting up at 6.00am and going running for quite a few months which is very impressive and made me get off my backside. The kids keep trying to check for my six pack but that’s never going to come!

As they say, a healthy body a healthy mind.

The Curve

The Curve is Leicester’s state of the art theatre which has been designed by the world famous architect Rafael Vinoly. After the nlabnetworks conference meal, we were given an impromtu outside tour of the theatre. Even though I live and work in Leicester, I hadn’t realised what an impressive thing this was! It’s completely glass fronted and even looks onto the actual stage and backstage areas from the outside walk ways. The entire building is suspended by steel wires, creating an amazing open structure. Outside there will be an open area where people can sit (cafe style) and/or watch outside performers. This is pretty exciting and to be honest I hadn’t really understood until know what was happening in that area. The foyer area will be open to have meetings and there is space to hold conferences within the building. I know in the past people have questioned the costs of the project but this a real coup for the City. Makes me feel proud of the place where I was born and brought up. Leicester is changing …

Moving Here Stories – Nine Days to Nine Hours

It’s amazing what you find on the Internet and found this story of my dad’s uncle, Jaswant Singh Riyait, who lives in Leicester and is 91 years old. He was one of the people that my Dad lived with because my grand parents died while my father was relatively young. It’s a story of migration over three continents. It’s difficult to imagine the courage and hardship our families have had to endure.

So, getting recognition with things like the SBSC PAL’s award means something much more to me, a validation of the sacrifices made by our community in coming to this country, a reason for them to be proud of me.

Reflections on America

I’ve just got back from Florida from a 2 week break there with the family. I like the US for a number of reasons and one them is that it just one big melting pot of people and cultures. I know that the UK is fairly diverse but almost everyone you meet and talk to is from "somewhere" in the US.  I know people often say that America has no culture but to me it has a thousand different cultures and you can hear it in the different languages you hear spoken. It’s funny how a Nation built almost entirely on immigration can have any sense of coherence and any ideals that can bind people together. But it does and people are proud to be Americans in a way we as Britains wouldn’t show or be embarrassed by.

It is the ultimate consumer society but reading the USA Today Newspaper and it was full of the impending economic crisis. The most trusted Institutions seem to be unravelling overnight with the US’s 5th largest bank Bear Stearns being bought by JP Morgan in a rushed 11th hour deal. The analysis was that if Bear Stearns was allowed to go into Administration then it would have caused chaos in the entire Financial System with it being uncertain as to where it would end – a kind of chain reaction! Isn’t kind of funny that as Small Businesses people accuse us of ignoring our cashflow and debt and yet somehow this gets ignored for these huge institutions where there it is called Risk Management or a High Growth Strategy!

But after all that the US is a pretty complex place and so different from coast to coast. The other unique thing is that at the moment you have a woman and a black guy fighting it out for the Democratic nomination to become President. It’s very interesting to me because it shows that race doesn’t necessarily have to be a barrier in the US. Here in the UK, I couldn’t even imagine a black person becoming Prime Minister within my lifetime. So, which is the more Cohesive society?

Beware of the Monsters!!

So, what is it that keeps kids worrying at night? Well, this is an insight into the mind of my 8 year old son. I saw this hanging up in our living room recently and I had to share it :-)

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Isn’t great to have a child’s imagination?!

The Nakedness of The Web

There are times when a blog post by someone just completely echoes your own feelings and JP Rangaswami has one of these for me. I spend a lot my thinking time, thinking about the nature of my use of Social Networking and the value of it. Why Blog, why use Facebook and why use Twitter and aren’t I putting too much information about myself out there into a big bad world for people to exploit. There is also a perceived wisdom that your business side is one thing and your private life is something entirely separate.

Perhaps because like JP Rangaswami we come from a culture that does not necessarily have these nice neat boundaries where much of what we do is a communal activity, where our lives are pretty much “open books” for people to prod and explore. In my experience doing business is one of the ultimate social activities and not an opportunity to adopt a persona or alter ego. Come see my world, my life, come see what drives and motivates me, what makes me laugh or cry, come see that I will absolutely do my utmost to support you, come see that I am just me and that I am real and come do business with me if you like what you find out.

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The Season of Goodwill

It’s been a great year for me, packed with some great personal experiences and whilst I’m not going to bore people with them in detail, one thing is consistent in all that I’ve done and that is the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Partner Community. I know many people talk of the business value, etc, etc but at the end of the day I’m involved because of the individuals I’ve met and come to respect. It’s enabled me to grow as a person and develop my business. I’m a great believer that we as a Community should be a “broad church” enabling people to grow within it. It is a unique thing in the Microsoft ecosystem because it has a very human face to it. I get far more out of it than I could ever put in and so to all my fellow SBSers out there thanks for everything and I hope you all have a good Christmas and New Year.

…and boy can SBSC Partners Party :-)

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