Is a Friend in Need a Friend In-deed?

‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’ There are many variations of the saying, sure. But who exactly came up with the original? Why; and what does it even mean? More importantly, does it even make sense? This exploration could do us all a load of good, and here’s why.

This is one of the phrases in the language that is interesting because there are various interpretations of the meaning. Firstly, is it 'a friend in need is a friend indeed' or 'a friend in need is a friend in deed'. Clearly, that would have a bearing on the meaning. 

The 'in need' is also open to interpretation - is it 'a friend (when you are) in need' or 'a friend (who is) in need'. If the former, then the phrase means: 'someone who helps you when you are in need is a true friend'. If the latter, it is 'someone who needs your help becomes especially friendly in order to obtain it'. 

So, that gives us four options:
1. A friend, (when you are) in need, is indeed a true friend. ('indeed')
2. A friend, (when you are) in need, is someone who is prepared to act to show it ('in deed')
3. A friend, (who is) in need, is indeed a true friend. ('indeed')
4. A friend, (who is) in need, is someone who is prepared to act to show it ('in deed') 

There is no unambiguous right or wrong here and this is a phrase that we probably infer the meaning of from context when we first hear it. There are contemporary variations too, you will no doubt have heard “A friend with weed is a friend indeed.” and the like. Whichever of the above options we initially elect will cement our understanding of the phrase; probably forever. This does not make it the only option to consider.

It is quite fascinating how many different interpretations of the phrase there are as well as the technicalities that can emerge out of them. However, all interpretations basically boil down to a theme revolving around: Favours between friends. This applies to everyone and surely causes mixed reactions. Before the phrase is lost in the skirmish of interpretations, let us consider it from another perspective and bring freshness to the fore.

To divulge, consider this: A friend in need is a friend in need. That seems to be more appropriate as an all-encompassing phrase. To be frank, when the time comes to lend a helping hand to a friend, or ask for one, there is no denying that it is a friend, and a favour. Despite possible/probable inconveniences, there is definite reason to engage in the ‘good Samaritan’ approach. Give your friend some help. Remember, it is a ‘need’ not a ‘want’.

Let’s face it; no one wants to be a hindrance but at times situations require external assistance and one should not adopt a ‘don’t ask me’ attitude because all in all, it could be you. 

With extracts from: <http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/a-friend-in-need.html>


This One is Deep

I'm going to set a few records straight... Christians are NOT perfect nor should we claim to be. At the same time imperfection should not be used as a crutch, we know exactly where we stand on our faults. Christians should not share their faith without love in their heart or with an overbearing demeanor, though it is done many times. 

Christians should not be hypocritical, we are born into sin just like everyone else. Christians are NOT an accurate depiction of Christ, as He is perfect and cannot be matched. Christians are merely ones who were lost in sin and searched for One that can carry them through the harsh realities of life. We are not able to 'save' anyone, all we can do is show others who saved us from our sin. It is not us, but the Love of God, the example of Christ and the movement of the Holy Spirit that draws men in. 

Christians do not know the Bible back to front, but we all have a testimony that is God-given, truth breathed and cannot be taken from us. We try as best as we can to follow the teachings of the Bible so as to show our love for God to grow ourselves as God's children. When a Christian approaches you to share the Gospel, he is not doing so to make you look bad, he is doing so because he has never felt so free and so alive knowing that he no longer carries a single burden alone, and wants to share this freely-given gift with you so that you may experience it personally. Sharing the Gospel is one of the greatest forms of love that we can share. Christ died on the cross for everyone, whether you believe or not, for our sins and we cling to that perfect sacrifice every day we live. 

Claiming to be a Christian is one of the biggest responsibilities that one can have as we are depicted as Christ-like and this is the only physical way the world can see what Christ was like. 

Do not look to Christians, rather look to the one we follow, Christ, for a glimpse of pure love, perfection and truth.

By: Matthew G. R. James


When Cellphones Replaced Lighters

It is time for some ‘light’ reading. Firstly, the title may confuse you. I’m not talking about trying to use your cellphone for setting fire to inanimate objects such as paper, trees or cats. No, what I’m referring to bears a much more metaphorical meaning, borne from a real transpiration.

Recently I attended a James Blunt concert in Port Elizabeth. Granted, he is very talented and I personally enjoy his music. During one of his songs though, I think it was “1973”, which is ironic as you will find out later on. Anyway, during the song, a large portion of the crowd whipped out their cellphones and if you didn’t know better, you’d think they were going to hurl them onstage. Alas, that would have probably been better as what they did next disappointed me like little else could.

The crowd took out their cellphones and made sure the screen light was on. Once they were assured of this, they proceeded to jab their phones into the air and wave them above their heads in a slow rhythm, in time with the song. Again, one may not quite understand the meaning of this unless you are familiar with concerts of ‘the old days’ where instead of cellphones being used for this effect, lighters would take the rightful place. 

“What a sacrilege” I thought to myself. Since when did electronic devices begin to disrespect the significance of the lighter for this purpose? Traditionally, when a harmonious song is performed live, the crowd shows their appreciation and reverence to the music by flaming up their lighters while emotions burn within their hearts. This new-age notion of the cellphone replacing the lighter is absurd and does just not cut it.

Remember that irony I mentioned? Well, here it is. As far as I’m concerned, real musical talent henceforth real music is anything and everything produced pre-1980. Since then, the ‘electro era’, music has spiralled downwards towards a lacklustre cacophony of untalented, uninhibited cluster of, essentially, white noise. This; all thanks to electronics. This brings us back to my moment during the 1973 (a pre-80’s date) song in the concert when I realised that most* contemporary ‘music’ is soulless and even more meaningless. I believe that this genre is referred to pop (popular) music and it, quite frankly, makes me ill.
* Except for music that does not require electronics

It is no wonder that parents of today, who no doubt listened to pre-80s music, cannot relate to the contemporary crap of today. Back then, songs were written about matters in society that actually meant something, not (and I shudder to say this for the subjects’ lack of substance) imbecile orientated noise based on ‘chicks’ and ‘partying’.  It is just horrid. There is no way that any person can appreciate and deem contemporary musical slander even close to the authentic pre-80’s counterpart. Adapting voices by means of computer programmes and pressing ridiculous buttons on a synthesizer should fall under a completely separate category of its own. It’s like comparing cellphones to lighters; the two are just different and should never be considered to bear similarities.

Before this gets carried away, let me end by saying that if you are one of millions who splurge your blessed sense of sound on so-called ‘pop’ music, I ask that you reconsider. When you can appreciate music from before 1980, then only can you understand what real music really is. I urge you to attempt to cognate that which came first, that which is purposeful and that which holds its own in light of the modern-day ‘music’ industry.

Now, put your lighters up.


Spontaneity - To do or not to do?

Did you consciously put time aside to read this? Did you even know that you were going to read it? Or, did you just click on a link and go for it? Spontaneity; it is something we could all probably do without. Or could we? For now, keep on reading!

I personally like to plan everything I do. This way, you know what is going to happen and what must be put in place to make it happen. Also, you will have a good idea of what exactly the outcomes will be. When all this is weighed up, you will be able to decide whether or not it is a good idea to go through with the plan. Life, then, becomes streamlined and you won’t have any regrets or undesirable implications placed upon you.

This is precisely the opposite of what the beast of spontaneity intends. Now, life is not always possible to predict. There are many occasions when the unexpected happens and you have to deal with it. Such occasions are generally one’s which you have little or no control over. The difference comes in when you are willingly spontaneous, something that I am trying to tame, although maybe I should not. 

Very often I will be minding my own business and keeping myself pre-occupied when suddenly an opportunity (usually in the form of a friend) will arise. “It sounds good to me, let’s do it!” is my usual response. As I utter these very words I will get this queasy feeling in my gut that tells me that I have not thought it through and that this goes against my planning ideals. 

Nevertheless, I carry on and the more time that passes by, the more I realise what a silly idea it is. No turning back now. Well, I could turn back but it isn’t in my nature. Once I’ve made the commitment I feel terribly obliged to carry it through. This does not bode well with spontaneity, I have found.

I remember about two years ago, in 2009, my Dad called me early one Saturday morning and asked if I’d like to take a drive to drop off a package for a friend of his. In my state of semi-consciousness I agreed and before I knew what was really happening, I found myself dressed and ready for the trip. 

I was asked to drive (which I love doing) from Queenstown to Aliwal-North some 170km away, and back, making it nearly 350km in total. Sure, I was told that I would be paid and that was quite a persuasive manoeuvre. Spontaneously, I agreed. It woke me up early, took about five hours to get there and back including things I had to do. I missed out time with my friends and only ended up being paid exactly half of what I was promised. Given another chance, it would have definitely been turned down, no thanks.

Another option would have been to tell a ‘white-lie’. This, I am very talented at. Unfortunately the chances of me telling a white lie vary and quite inconsistently. Usually when I have time to think it through a white lie will be the best option. Otherwise, I get spontaneous. Here’s a hint: It’s much easier to tell a white lie when body language and tone of voice are excluded from the equation. 

Not everything spontaneous is bad however. I have done many things on impulse which have turned out to be very enjoyable. Often someone will suggest something which I am not too keen on but go for it anyway and it turns out to be one heck of an experience. Ever wonder why, whenever you plan a party, it never meets your expectations? The best times are spontaneous times. That’s why when a party permeates from little it is guaranteed to be a blast. I once heard a saying that goes, “In thirty years from now you will regret the things you did not do more than that you did do.” So, if a spontaneous opportunity comes your way, take it. Learn from it if it goes badly; if not, enjoy it and make it worthwhile.

When I left on my way out to Aliwal-North I promised myself to never be spontaneous ever again. So far, no good. Life is for living. 



Don't do love, don't do friends
I'm only after success
Don't need a relationship
I'll never soften my grip

Don't want cash, don't want car
Want it fast, want it hard
Don't need money, don't need fame
I just want to make a change
I just wanna change (x4)

I know exactly what I want and who I want to be
I know exactly why I walk and talk like a machine
I'm now becoming my own self-fulfilled prophecy
Oh, oh no, oh no, oh no

One track mind, one track heart
If I fail, I'll fall apart
Maybe it is all a test
Cause I feel like I'm the worst
So I always act like I'm the best

If you are not very careful
Your possessions will possess you
TV taught me how to feel
Now real life has no appeal
It has no appeal (x4)

(chorus repeat twice)

I'm gonna live, I'm gonna fly,
I'm gonna fail, I'm gonna die,
I'm gonna live, I'm gonna fly
I'm gonna fail, gonna die, die, die, die

(chorus repeat twice)

Oh, oh no, oh no, oh no


Hello, Dolly: Once Upon A Time..

Hello, Dolly: Once Upon A Time..: “Once upon a time there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field t...


Generalise = Ostracise

You know when people get into an argument and the one party, between swear words, shouts to the other “You don’t even know me!”? Usually those words are the precursor to the end of the disagreement and are never really considered. Yet, there might be much truth behind those five words. Bear with me now and let me explain.

Society dictates that we should not trust others. Am I right? This, we are taught from a young age. Generally it is a good notion but can lead to undesirable circumstances. How can we get to know others properly if we do not trust them and furthermore, how can we form an opinion of them without sufficient interaction? The problem that arises is that instead of forming a legitimate opinion of someone or something, we instead do not make the effort to get to know them and subsequently rely on mere speculation. How iniquitous.

Once we’ve decided that it is not worth the effort, we accept our malformed judgements which in turn become generalisations, often communicated to others. Consequently our judgements become ‘facts’ upon which we act and thus never allow us to intermingle with the generalised, in question. Now, the effort is made to steer clear of these parties and for no bona fide reason. We stick to what we know and ostracise that which we do not.

This process is not conscious and happens on a continuous basis. It is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous traits that humans possess. Maybe it is innate but surely a conscious effort could challenge that? Our social groups remain fixed and can become stale before long; this, all thanks to a bit of laziness and a smidgen of mistrust. This is not acceptable. 

I have encountered this first-hand. Recently, I bought a new car for myself. It is by no means considered standard. It has mags, a sound system, free-flow exhaust system and a whole lot of power. Now when I think of someone else who has a car like that, I imagine them to be arrogant, unintelligent and even ‘common’. This is in complete contrast to what I, and others, consider myself to be. Evidently, generalisations are skewered and I am too, guilty. I have found that other motorists have experienced the above-mentioned process of generalisations and put them into practise. I have lights flashed at me, dirty looks passed my way and obvious comments made. I find this offensive and hostile, quite frankly. 

Granted, many generalisations may hold water, it is not fair to assume such assumptions without some sort of justification. My appeal to you is that before you make your next supposition that you would engage with the entity and really decipher whether or not it is appropriate. I am certain that some of the instances may have been misconceived and you will find yourself surprised at how decent the individual is, and how wrong you were. 

Minx - 2.0l Citi Golf


Faith - In Quotations

Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.
Saint Thomas Aquinas

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
Saint Augustine

Faith is spiritualized imagination.
Henry Ward Beecher

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.
Henry Ward Beecher

Your faithfulness makes you trustworthy to God.
Edwin Louis Cole

To me faith means not worrying.
John Dewey

Reason is our soul's left hand, faith her right.
John Donne

Faith is reason grown courageous.
Sherwood Eddy

He who has faith has... an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well - even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly.
B. C. Forbes

Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch.
E. M. Forster

Nor shall derision prove powerful against those who listen to humanity or those who follow in the footsteps of divinity, for they shall live forever. Forever.
Kahlil Gibran

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
Kahlil Gibran

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.
Martin Luther

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.
Blaise Pascal

Faith and doubt both are needed - not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.
Lillian Smith

As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.
Emmanuel Teney

I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.
Mother Teresa

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
Elie Wiesel

Faith is a passionate intuition.
William Wordsworth


Angel Falls

Swimming at the bottom of Angel Falls

Mbotyi, Eastern Cape, ZA


Forced Creativity?

Creativity is essentially the ability of creation; the allowance of that intimate substance which is suppressed within us, to permeate our beings and take on a tangible form. Creation is a phenomenon. Some even regard creation as divine inspiration. What has been created that cannot be put to trial by our God-given senses? Nothing, of course. Creation is everything and everywhere. Omnipresent, is a good word. 

True creativity cannot be summonsed at the drop of a hat. No; creativity should develop subliminally and nurture itself till our minds can comprehend and bear fruit to this heavenly insight. Is it right that creativity should be assessed, judged? Who should be so honoured so as to deem what is creative and what is not? “Only God shall judge me.” But Him, none should. Yet this is a reality and cannot be refrained from.

The Arts is probably the worst offender. Whether it is creating images on a canvas, photographical, sewing melodies together or conjuring written pieces, these all come under scrutiny and criticism; and by whom? Why is it that some creations are better received than others? Are they mainstream and if so, why? Can it be that broad based opinion is ‘truth’ and ‘right’? Just because that which is crafted is denied, does not insinuate that it is not creative, not ‘art’, and should not dishearten the creator. That which is created on a whim is created with reason and depth; is beautiful and just.

Although creativity cannot be bartered and transferred, it is possible that it can be motivated or encouraged. If ever you feel that creativity is deep within you but that you cannot mount the hill of fruition then why not engage in some quiet time in contemplation. Consider sitting atop a mountain or building, any high place. Change your perspective of things. Buy for yourself a Gregorian Chant music album and a bottle of wine and submerge yourself in a pool of reflection. There is nothing like soothing chant to call it to the fore. Wine in moderation helps, too. Lose yourself in yourself.

Everyone is creative. It just takes a little bit of thought, some enthusiasm and desire to coax that smidgen of creativity out of its shell which will indefinitely grow exponentially into a fully fledged creation with life. Never, ever force it out. Premature development, as with all things, ends in a way which was/is never intended. 

Let us look for example at textual opinion pieces. This is one. This is to be assessed, on creativity among a few other criteria. This is meta-critique; a self-aware analysis. The topic was chosen out of free will but the actuality that it had to be done takes from this perfect freedom. Deadlines and target audiences need to be considered; competition and desired results as well. One cannot cleave from these binding constraints that limit the notion of creativity in a pure, unaffected form. 

Maybe these suppressing factors aren’t all bad. Sure, they make for streamlined review and contribute to a civilised style of expression and possibly even serve as a guideline of appropriation for such. This unfortunately reverts back to the aforementioned scrutiny and criticism, when that which is produced, is not deemed ‘creative enough’. The bottom line is that it cannot possibly be. The pressure to perform throws a net on creative notions, suffocating it from actualisation. 

So, when you are asked to present your ‘creative’ work for assessment and when returned, it is not thought creative enough, don’t despair. Authentic creativity, shaped in that way, is not achievable. The kind of creativity which requires a conscious effort is a farce which feigns its way into being accepted, or not – more likely. 

Is this creative then? The attempt has been made to be as creative as possible. But alas, despite the Gregorian Chant, despite drifting away into mentally unbound territory; this is still a matter of gaining credits. If you want creative, let it be. Let it be.

This, then, is not short of the unfortunate institutional constraints and is not virginally creative; it is just not possible. Sorry.

Wisdom of Epic Proportions - The Dalai Lama

A question that was posed to the Dalai Lama, “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?” His answer was as follows, "Man." "Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn't enjoy the present. As a result he doesn't live in the present or the future. He lives as if he’s never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived."

All I can say in response is:
Remember this, every day.
Live it; love it.


My 'Alice in Wonderland'

In nature, where she belongs:

Taken and edited, by me.
December 2010

Perceptive Perspective

This is purely informational. It is by no means, all. This is a, conveniently compact, summary of me. This is where I come from, where I am, and where I’m going. This is just to give you some perspective, because I believe there is no better teacher. I intend for great things to follow this, my first textual post as a blogger. 

I was born in Cape Town, South Africa. The year was 1991. That was twenty years ago. I’ve always wanted to write an autobiography because I think that my two decades have been rather extraordinary. This should serve as a good idea of what I’d hope to achieve in my book of me, one day. This is not a carefully constructed piece. This is not everything. There are no tricks or underlying messages. Here it is, unrehearsed, straightforward and simple.

 I’ve never left the country and also never been tired of it. I love this place, it is my home. I am African. Sure, I’ve been around a bit. When I was two years old my parents and I moved from The Mother City to the heart of the Eastern Cape on the verge of the Transkei. My mother came from this place; she is still in the area although things are a bit different. My parents came to a fork in their road and they took separate paths.  I was 16 then. Also, I have a brother. He is three years younger than me and every day I love him more. I still remember the day our Mom and Dad sat us down and told us that we would no longer live under the same roof. The age difference between my parents is 13 years. When my Mom started school my Dad was in the Army. It was inevitable. So be it, April 1st, 2007. Yes, April Fools’ Day, Irony couldn’t get any crueller. That’s not to say it wasn’t for the best. Things eased up in some places and got tougher in others. You grow up fast when you’re the ‘Head of the House’.  Being manic-depressive makes things interesting too.  ‘Another day; another vendetta’. 

To quote my Mom, “The toughest steel goes through the hottest fire.” It keeps me going. My Dad has since moved back to his home, Cape Town, after a few years of living life in a daze. I cannot blame him, it must be incredible difficult. I love that man so much. My Mom has found the man of her dreams in a strong, focused farmer and quite frankly I couldn’t be happier for her. My parents’ happiness is a yolk which I gladly carry. We are pulling a bit heavy on Dad’s side but he’s coming right. 

I regard myself as a farm boy. I grew up on a farm. The memories of that incredible place are deeply rooted in my being. I shan’t begin to explain it all here and now. The time will come when I will pour over those 14 years we spent in rural Africa and somehow come to terms with how much it means to me. I lived in town for three years as well. We decided that travelling in and out of town plus-minus 100 kilometres a day was getting a bit much after doing it for 12 or so years. I am immensely proud of the school I attended, www.queenscollege.co.za, where I was bred into the upstanding man I believe I am, today.

Since matriculating with good results I’ve moved to NMB – The acronym sounds better than ‘Nelson Mandela Bay’. It's more commonly known as Port Elizabeth. I’m in my second year of studies at this point in time, a Bachelor of Arts in Media, Communication and Culture. I am doing well in all aspects of the ‘student life’. I live in a very decent place with my much loved cousin, I drive the car of my dreams, I do well in my studies, I love the people who surround me, especially my fantastic girlfriend of 10 months. So, life is pretty much all I’ve ever wanted out of it. I wouldn’t swap it for anyone else’s. 

I’ll be done with studying soon. I don’t know where I am going or how I am going to get there but the big man upstairs always has and always will provide solid ground under my feet. I’m a believer who can testify to divine intervention. 

I am one with myself; thank you.

Here and now, I am.