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A Joyful Christmas to All WAISers!

     WAISers are scattered all over the world. Martin Storey, who is of French origin, is a computer consultant for oil companies in Borneo. Living in an area of religious diversity and intolerance, he has learned to be careful:
     After years of traveling and living in countries of many religions, I have learned to be cautiously conservative and to present all simply with my best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. For my Chinese friends, I never fail to add the word "prosperous", and this year, the end of Ramadan is on 10 January, and so to my Muslim friends in SE Asia, the consecrated formula is "Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri".
     The oil industry is a fascinating place, and I like it even more if it allows me to live a life of my choice. However, it has taken a particularly spectacular roller coaster ride lately. At the beginning of the year, the oil price was at a long-time low, and employees were thanked (a French way to say sacked) by the hundreds. Many of the chosen ones took the "package" and moved on to IT jobs. Now the oil price is back to a long-time high, and the energy companies are wondering where they will find qualified people to do the work they have committed to. The people who moved on are not returning, and those who stayed can now work on their own terms. As I (try to) do. The shortage of skilled manpower is likely to last for many years. A status report which applies also to the IT industry, of course. It's the revenge of the nerds!
     You may want to remind WAISers to be cautious over the new year cutover. Avoid crowded places like Times Square or Trafalgar. Any time is a great time to spend with the family, but that's one to remember.

     My comment: Spanish TV news today was mostly about the "fat" prizes of the Christmas lottery, a stupid business (much worse that Santa Claus, with his spurious generosity). It opens with children choosing the winning numbers in a major public ceremony, followed by champagne swilling by the poor people who have won, and no mention of the millions who have lost.
     Martin has won the Christmas lottery of the oil business (excuse that Christmas). I refuse to think that life is just a lottery. I will celebrate Martin's good luck with my usual plonk.

Ronald Hilton - 12/22/99