Top-notch Plagiarism - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Top-notch Plagiarism

Without any introductory ado, just read the story of mine below I "wrote" a couple of years ago and review it for yourself on whether it is well-written. And then after you read the story, I will tell you something interesting about it:
"I can visualize the scene again and again: 10.00am, Thursday morning, the 17th of January, 2002, Kiserian Bus Station. I was leaving home for Starehe Boys' Centre and School. As I said goodbye to my family, friends and teachers and as I saw hope, expectation and even a bit of sadness in their eyes and as I stepped into a Kenya Bus with my box, I knew my life had changed forever.

The next two hours in the bus were a time of question, of concern and of tremendous uncertainty. Had I made the right choice in leaving my parents, my family and my home? Had I made the right choice in leaving my home-town and my background? Had I made the right choice in choosing Starehe Boys' Centre?

And then of course, there was that one nagging question, that one over-riding concern: as the only student from my primary school in a class of more than 200 Form Ones at Starehe, would I ever fit in? My home was different, my tribe was different, my experiences were different, my background was different, my native language was different, my accent was different; would I ever fit in? And so there I was in the bus, grappling with those questions of tribe, of culture, of interaction and of ethnicity.

What I didn't know was that the world has been faced with these very questions; the question of tribe, of culture, of interaction and of ethnicity. Like in India, the Muslims and Hindus have lived together in the most fragile peace. In Rwanda and Burundi, the Hutus and Tustis have had a long standing animosity. In Bosnia, the Serbs, the Croats, the Muslims and the Bosnians have broken many truces. The question has been the same all over the world: could different cultures ever come together to reinforce one another?

Four years after the bus ride to Starehe Boys' Centre, I found my answer to the question of culture in the school where I had the four most spectacular years of my life. My academics were great, my extra-curricular were great, my university plans were great. But what left an indelible mark in my mind were none of those achievements. Not the music festival certificates or the KCSE grade A. No. Instead, it were those special moments of human interactions and those human relationships that can never quite be fully translated into words.

The time I played my first volleyball game when I didn't know how to rotate! And yet in a short time, I learnt how to play volleyball. The time I went for camps and hikes during which the relationship was not between Form Ones and Form Fours but between buddies who helped one another. The time I had a long and honest talk with my classmates on the eve of a KCSE Mathematics Paper: I didn't learn much Maths that night. But what I learnt was that as different as we are - different cultures, different backgrounds - inherently, we are still the same.

Yes, four years after the bus ride to Starehe, I found the answer to culture. I found that it takes just a little understanding, just a little sensitivity, just a little open-mindedness, just a little empathy to create harmony among diverse people. I found that it makes no difference what culture we follow, what our background is, what our experiences are, what language we speak or what accent we have. The commonalty of the human bond far transcends those superficial differences.

Yet read the history of this world. Read about the very regions that have been faced with the same issue of culture I faced ten years ago. You will learn about Bosnia where between 1992 and 1996, 300,000 people were slaughtered to death - Bosnians, Croats and Muslims - all because they came from a slightly different culture. You will learn about India where in one maddening week in 1992, over two thousand Hindus and Muslims lost their lives fighting one another. They fought over mosques, of buildings made of brick and mortar. You will learn about Rwanda where in 1994, over 800,000 Hutus and Tutsis lost their lives. Just comprehend that for one small second; many people have lost their lives fighting over superficial differences.

Realize the evilness of this world which has fought hard to highlight our differences. We have forgotten our inherent similarities. Why? All because what has been missing has been just a little understanding, just a little sensitivity, just a little open-mindedness, just a little empathy.

And so, I will campaign for a political seat in the coming elections despite my tender age. I will distinguish myself like never before. I will make a real difference in my country Kenya. But not for one moment will I ever forget the memory of my four years in Starehe. The memory that just a little understanding, just a little sensitivity, just a little open-mindedness, just a little empathy on my part can mean the difference between complete despair for one young boy in Kiserian and remarkable hope for another young boy in Kakuma."
So how have you reviewed the story above? You must have perceived it as startlingly witty as did George Waithaka who thought of it as well-articulated when I shared the story with him via email. If you don't know, George Waithaka was a school-mate of mine at Starehe Boys' Centre who was eventually accepted at the highly-esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.

Encouraged by the positive feedback from George Waithaka and a couple of other friends, I went ahead to send the story to the Nation newspaper, Kenya's leading daily, so that I could get a few minutes or so of fame and recognition. The newspaper didn't publish the story.

Undeterred, I decided to include the story in a memoir I typed in my father's old desktop computer. As it happened, all the publishers and literary agents I approached declined to review the memoir, let alone agreeing to publish it.

That the story never got to see its day in a newspaper or in a book turned out to be more than a blessing in disguise; it was a divine plan by God to shield me from disaster. Why? Because I was not the original author of the story; I just plagiarized it from a magnificent valedictory speech by Sajjid Chinoy during the '96 University of Richmond's graduation ceremony in which he narrated how he left his home in India for university education in the United States. See?

After searching Sajjid Chinoy on Linkedin, I have learnt that he is currently the Chief India Economist. I am just praying that he will accept my request to connect on that social network for professionals of which I am one. As in, I am now a professional writer.

Anyway, had the Nation newspaper published the plagiarized story of mine, I would have tarnished my reputation as a good man. That would have sabotaged my chances of ever succeeding. Don't they say that it takes a long time to build a good reputation but a short time to destroy it?

And had I landed a publisher to publish the memoir I attempted to write in which I included the story, I would have suffered the same tragic fate as James Frey - an American who authored a fake memoir that brought Random House Inc. publishing company to its knees. Oh, how I thank my God for the rejections by publishers and literary agents!

Conclusion of the matter: plagiarism is evil. So be innovative. Be beautiful. Be truthful. Be original. Be real. Be you!


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Private vs. Public Victories

"Private victories precede public victories,' so propounded the sensational leadership guru Stephen Covey in his internationally acclaimed book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I have never read that book in full simply because I have never owned a personal copy but it's already in my list of books to acquire once I start earning good money. In case you are feeling sufficiently philanthropic today, please don't hesitate to help me acquire the book sooner than later. I will be eternally grateful for your generosity.

Anyway ... now, what was I saying before I digressed? ... Oh, just remembered I was telling you that private victories precede public victories as Stephen Covey propounded in his internationally acclaimed book. I can attest from personal experience that that proposition is spot on and any attempts to reverse it by striving for public victories before winning the private ones only breeds a life of routine stress and depression. Let me tell you of how I tried to reverse that proposition only to be met with defeat.

Sometimes in 2013 when I began reading newspapers I borrowed from one of my neighbours, I developed a craving to get featured in newspapers so that my friends could think I was fairing well in life. So I would force myself to write articles to the Nation media house for free even when I didn't have a genuine message seeking an outlet.

As it happened, some of my articles were published but unsatisfactorily, they were shortened by editors and published on a page which I doubt whether many people ever read because it contained quite a number of those shortened articles by other authors who I think were also craving for attention like me. That's why I was unsatisfied. I just craved to have my articles published in their full length in the main opinion pages which contained informative articles by such distinguished world leaders as Bill Gates and Barack Obama.

So to improve my chances of having my articles published in full length, I took to plagiarizing other people's works. I succeeded at one time to have a plagiarized article of mine published in full in an edition of the Daily Nation Living Magazine. And I tell you, for a day, I felt like I had conquered the world when I received a few congratulatory messages from friends that day my article was published.

But imagine I was congratulated for writing an article in which I had lied that I had read a biography of Abraham Lincoln so that I could smartly plagiarize a lengthy quote by Edward Sisson who I have just learnt now on Wikipedia that he served as the President of the University of Montana for a few years after the end of World War 1. That I could do all that lying and plagiarizing reflects the extent to which I was determined to show off to friends that I was fairing well in life. Had someone figured out that I plagiarized the article and made it public, he would have dented my reputation at the expense of my inner peace. Luckily, nobody has ever figured out that I had plagiarized the article. God just saved me from getting ensnared in my foolish ambitions.

With time though, I have managed to hold my horses by not forcing myself to write articles to media outlets for free just to show off I am fairing well in life while in reality, I am struggling with my finances and self-esteem. Instead, I have decided to focus on winning my private victories first like by earning money to lead a decent life. And hopefully by the time I will start getting featured in high-brow newspapers, I will have developed the insights and self-concept that can stand the pressures of fame and fortune. So help me God.


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Accepting Jesus Christ

In the photo above is "Christ the Redeemer" statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I have extracted the photo from and added a quote in it . Copyright © all rights reserved worldwide.

Have you ever felt too high naturally to an extent of developing mental clarity, conscious peace and appreciation of the riches of life? For me, I have experienced such natural highs on countless occasions since I first developed signs of self-awareness shortly after I turned 19 during my days at Starehe Institute in 2007.

Unfortunately though, and I again say unfortunately, I have been unable to sustain those natural highs. At times, the highs have fizzled out in the face of loss, failure, criticism and rejections. At other times, the highs have fizzled out for no apparent reasons. I think you have also undergone through those roller-coaster life rides, haven't you?

As for me, I am now endeavouring to make the natural highs my modus operandi. I will strive to wake up cheerfully each day of the remaining years of my life by greeting every morning with a smile, and to be so strong in mind and spirit that nothing will dent my smile, at least not longer than an hour. And how do I plan to achieve those consistent natural highs? By simply turning to Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of my faith.

Well, I have for a long time come to believe deeply in the teachings of Jesus Christ. But never before have I been so moved to publicly proclaim that Jesus Christ is my Saviour. Now that I have done so here, I believe He will save me from the gloomy days that have since I turned 19 buffeted my life like a dead fish in a stormy sea.

I will therefore from now henceforth be turning to Jesus Christ for guidance by praying every day as well as by reading and meditating on His word. Above all, I will emulate His exemplary character of love, grace and wisdom. Like I will love all men underneath the sun, even the enemies I have made along the way and will continue to make.

Yes, I am accepting Jesus Christ into my life and will let Him live in me for the remaining years of my life. And when I will finally depart from this world that is full of fears and sorrows, I know He will welcome me warmly to that eternal home in heaven of ever-lasting peace where I shall reign supreme with Him. O, how I trust in Jesus Christ!


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