Silent for a long time

It’s been a long time since I posted last. I had problems with sharing through a major social media link. I took more time to solve the problem than it actually warranted.

I am not sure if my messages are coming through as it is on LinkedIn that I have the most viewers. I would value if those following me can comment if you have received this post by title.

It is not that I was idle during this period. I have mentioned earlier that I have been writing a book on ‘Development Economics.’ It has been a major challenge.

I thought it would be as simple as identifying the concepts of development economics and then linking my experience in poverty reduction with this concept.

It was not that simple. In one of my later blogs, I will share the experience I went through.

I have given my draft manuscript to one of my friends to write a foreword for the book. Then it will have to go to an editor to correct some of the mistakes, a book like this is likely to have.

Once my social media link is clear, I will share more from my book, hoping at least the economists will look at it critically.

I just wanted to break my silence. I hope to be back with more blogs in the coming weeks.

Rajaratnam Abel

Writing Development Economics No time for Covid

Sometime back I indicated that with Covid becoming less, I am moving on to my priority of working on development economics. But Covid doesn’t seem to be going away.

I am tempted to write more about Covid. But I just don’t have the time to read to look and listen to videos of those I value.

I am reaching an important phase of writing my next book on Development Economics. So, I find it difficult to detach myself from that book.

I know many of you are interested in knowing the most current update on Covid. Therefore, I thought I’ll share some of the videos I would have watched and shared the information.

There are four that I would like to share with you.

One of the best to get the current information on Covid is Dr John Campbell. I have given the link to one of his videos. If you subscribe to his videos, then you will get them regularly.

The second one is a special online presentation by experts from CMC. The video is entitled as follows: Update on Omicron Variant. This presentation is purely medical looking at different areas. The link is given below.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cmc+vellore+omicron

The third one is also medical but looks at different aspects from time. I have given them according to the order of importance in terms of what you will learn. I have given the link below.

Dr Mike Hansen youtube

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dr+mike+hansen+omicron

The fourth one is research news from Johns Hopkins regarding the ineffectiveness of complete lockdowns. The link is given below

I thought this is the easiest way I can help you keep abreast with Covid as newer information becomes available.

Now coming to development economics. It has been both a challenge and an opportunity as I have been able to link up my lifetime experience with development economics. There are some interesting messages coming out. I will share these in due course of time.

I trust that you find this useful.

Rajaratnam Abel

Writing Development Economics No time for Covid

Sometime back I indicated that with Covid becoming less, I am moving on to my priority of working on development economics. But Covid doesn’t seem to be going away.

I am tempted to write more about Covid. But I just don’t have the time to read, to look and listen to videos of those I value.

I am reaching an important phase of writing my next book on Development Economics. So, I find it difficult to detach myself from that book.

I know many of you are interested in knowing the most current update on Covid. Therefore, I thought I’ll share some of the videos I would have watched and shared the information.

There are three that I would like to share with you.

One of the best to get the current information on Covid is from Dr John Campbell. I have given the link to one of his videos. If you subscribe to his videos, then you will get them regularly.

The second one is a special online presentation by experts from CMC. The video is entitled as follows: Update on Omicron Variant. This presentation is purely medical looking at different areas. It is very informative and useful. The link is given below.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cmc+vellore+omicron

The third one is also medical but looks at different aspects from time to time. I have given the link below.

Dr Mike Hansen youtube

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dr+mike+hansen+omicron

I have given them according to the order of importance in terms of what you will learn.

I thought this is the easiest way I can help you keep abreast with Covid as newer information becomes available.

Now coming to development economics. It has been both a challenge and an opportunity as I have been able to link up my lifetime experience with development economics. There are some interesting messages coming out. I will share these in due course of time.

I trust that you find this useful.

Rajaratnam Abel

CMC Vellore-The Scudder Oration by Azim Premji One of the world’s biggest philanthropists 

As a graduate of CMC Vellore and along with a number of my classmates, I’ve had the privilege of working in the needy areas of India. Therefore, it was heartwarming to hear from Mr Premji that he could see someone from CMC in the interior parts of India.

Just listen to his oration delivered in CMC on Dec 9th.

The link to the oration is given in the link below.

https://tinyurl.com/yckv2x2j

I am sure you will enjoy listening to the oration.

I am sure at least some of you are interested in knowing the response to my last blog. Many had seen the blog and a few had liked it. Beyond that, there was no one who volunteered.

Am I disappointed? Yes? That was plan A. Now I will move on to plan B. I also have a plan C. Of course, if nothing clicks, it may take a little longer time for me to get the help of those I know and get the task done. The negative effect will be that my writing work will get delayed.

I realise that LinkedIn is probably not the proper forum for my request. Almost all are professionals busy with their own work who do not have time to volunteer.

One of the lessons I have learnt in life is to share both negative and positive outcomes. Most readers like that better than hiding apparent failures.

Last time I made available one of my books for free download. That book is still available in the following link for three more specific days – Dec 25, Jan 1 and Jan 14

But I would like to add one more book to this blog. It is the biography I had written on the life of Dr John Scudder: The world’s first medical missionary. He happens to be the grandfather of Dr Ida S Scudder the founder of CMC Vellore. It is available at the following links.

Global eBook Dr John Scudder http://tiny.cc/ob01tz 

Indian eBook Dr John Scudder http://tiny.cc/wb01tz

I hope you would enjoy these books.

May I wish a blessed Christmas to all who celebrate this event and a very happy new year 2022 to everyone.

Rajaratnam Abel

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I need help! Who will volunteer?

I had said earlier that I would be moving more into writing my next book. It has not been easy. My regular ongoing commitments make it difficult to spend the time I need for writing. This is only one part of the process. 

Publishing requires a number of more steps. Much of that work is software related. I am poor in that area. Trying to learn the skills needed is very time consuming and it affects my writing work. 

This is precisely where I need help. Someone with software skills in three specific areas could be of great help. The first is designing the book cover. The second is to format the book ready for publishing. The third is to do the follow up in publishing such as uploading the formatted book as well as promoting the books.

Even if you do not have these specific skills as anyone with software skills could learn these skills quite quickly. Basically, the template is there. Anyone who has access to the Indesign package of Adobe will find it easy to move in. There are other software packages that could be used as well.

Volunteer? Free? Yes and no. I am a new author. I have published five books online. I have many more in the pipeline based on the good Lord giving me the length of life. My published books have not moved much in the market. They say that once you publish more books the market will pick. At the same time, I am also building up my author platform which should help in marketing. Besides, I have started actively promoting my books also.

Where does the volunteer fit in? It is almost like a venture capitalist. Instead of putting in money you put in time and skills. Both parties will grow together. There is a reasonable assumption that this venture will be successful.

As an author, whatever knowledge and skills I have gained over a lifetime, will be freely shared with the volunteer. The volunteer would gain new skills in cover designing and in formatting the final book. The volunteer can make this skill available as a freelance designer and formatter for many like me who are looking for this professional support. The volunteer can charge at lower or market rates for such services and continue to earn money.

What about my own contribution to the volunteer? At some point along the pathway of growth, a formal or informal agreement may have to be made. This would indicate the financial relationship and how the volunteer would be paid for services done. There are a number of options available which can be finalised that is mutually agreeable.

More than money it is a process of professional growth that would initially take place which I hope would make it possible for the volunteer to earn independently. Of course, I would continue to be available to the volunteer’s growth as long as necessary and feasible. 

I have expressed my need. Although my need is only one volunteer, I would like to start with at least three volunteers if possible. The relationship would be one of growth as well as sharing my experiences in a number of areas that could contribute to the professional growth of the volunteers as a mentor.

Please respond to my email ids as follows. We can discuss individually and come to a mutually agreed conclusion.

abel_rajaratnam@hotmail.com

drabelindia@gmail.com

It has been some time since I made my e-books available for free download. 

With December being a cheerful giving month, I would like to make my e books available for free downloads according to the dates mentioned below. Please feel free to download it. Also do not have second thoughts on sharing this free download with others. Ultimately, it is my desire that this book should reach as many people as possible free or paid versions. The first book I would like to make available for free is the ‘Businessmen for the Poor.’ It is available at the link given below.

Dates for free download of eBook ‘Businessmen for the Poor.’

December 6

December 20

December 25

January 1 2022

January 14 2022

Global eBook Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/f801tz  

Indian eBook Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/k901tz 

There are some who prefer to pay and read from a hard copy rather than download even a free eBook. For those interested in only a print version, you can order it through the links given below.

Global Paperback Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/q901tz

Paperback Indian Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/6f71tz 

I will make my other books available in my subsequent blog.

You can expect my next blog shortly after this one.

Rajaratnam Abel

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How Hong Kong controlled Covid-19

My last blog post was made considerable time back. I had indicated that I was moving from Covid to writing my next book on development economics. I had been kept busy writing. It was a new area for me and it is taking a longer time than I envisaged.

Some of you may recall my last book entitled, ‘Businessmen for the Poor.’ This new book is building on that book. I will share snippets from that forthcoming book from time to time.

With covid coming under control worldwide, I just want to write probably one last blog on Covid-19. As the title indicates it is about how Hong Kong managed it and the possible price paid by the people.

My first encounter with Covid-19 was Hong Kong and a request for masks. My daughter who lives in Hong Kong with her family considered herself providential that she could manage to get hold of some masks before they completely went out of the shelves in the market. She made an innocent request that I send some masks for some of the poorer church members who were struggling to lay their hands on masks.

So, I requested my professional contacts who are in active service to get me some masks. The request was circulated further down the line. The first response was that India had banned the export of masks. With that door closed, we worked with one of the acquaintances travelling from India to Hong Kong to hand carry some masks. Pat came the reply, “The customs are selectively identifying masks in passenger baggage and taking them out.” That was the end of my efforts at providing masks from India.

This experience motivated me to publish my third book entitled Covid-19. It was widely distributed by the Seventh Day Adventist Church in India to a wide variety of readers. Having failed with supplying masks for Hong Kong, I followed the manner in which Hong Kong managed to keep the country relatively free of the disease.

Masking was the first and foremost intervention carried out in Hong Kong. There were laws promoting the wearing of masks. However, masking was a habit formed over the years even before Covid-19 came on the scene. It was natural for people who had upper or lower respiratory infections to wear masks in public places. If one did not wear a mask in public places with a respiratory infection, then people looked down upon such individuals. Masking was a natural habit and it formed the first line of defence against Covid-19.

The second line of defence was maintaining a distance of two meters. The third line of defence was frequent hand washing and sanitisation. In fact, these three precautions constitute the main defiance against Covid-19.

The other intervention very consciously and rigidly implemented were isolation and quarantine. It started with isolation and or quarantine whenever there was risky contact with a local positive case. Over time they were able to control the community spread of the disease. 

Then they moved to the international level. Under pressure from the people, the Wuhan Hong Kong Express train was stopped very early in the pandemic. Depending on the level of new cases in different countries, anywhere from one to three wee weeks of hotel-based quarantine was insisted upon, with longer periods from countries where the new cases are high. This has been applied quite strictly. 

With these measures, Hong Kong managed to keep Covid-19 under check with very few new cases emerging daily in single digits and deaths being zero on a number of days.

What this means is that by applying Covid appropriate behaviour (CAB) Hong Kong has been able to effectively control the disease in the country. Hong Kong is a safe country for its citizens to live in. 

The proportion of the citizens of Hong Kong receiving Covid vaccines has been a little over sixty-one per cent. Even when the proportion of vaccination was low, CAB was able to keep the incidence of new cases low, even as they are cut off from the world. 

The price paid by the economy of Hong Kong to keep Covid out of the country is very high. Only time will tell if the consequences of the CAB measures followed in Hong Kong have helped them in the long run.  

The following link will show the pattern of Covid-19 in Hong Kong as well as in other countries.                                                                                               

https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/hong-kong/

Immersed in development economics and poverty: No time

In my last blog, I mentioned that I am moving over to poverty reduction related work from COVID-19. Sure enough, as I mentioned I got myself immersed into development economics. Ultimately poverty reduction is an economics subject. Even to share my experience I need to use economics language and jargon.

I had been wanting to learn development economics. I thought of some of the institutions offering courses on this topic. They were all costly beyond my affordability. Fortunately, I came across a course offered online free of cost by Marginal Revolution University, a unit of George Mason University, USA. I had started the course a few months back. I needed to increase the pace of learning.

Shortly after I posted my last blog, I went full stream into learning development economics. I had to go though about 200 videos on different topics on development economics. Not all were very long, with the longest ones being about eighteen minutes. But in the last two days, I would have viewed about twenty-five videos. I learnt so much about development economics. After some attempts, I managed to pass the final exam and got an online certificate for the same. It just increases my knowledge without adding to my cv.

Immediately I sat down to bring in all I learnt on this new subject into my next book. As I was going through the course, I came across a number of sub topics around which I had real life practical experiences in poverty reduction. I was able to write those experiences. Now I have reached a bottle neck as I try to look at research designs for measuring poverty reduction. My writing has slowed down considerably.

Now you can understand why I have been delayed in posting my blogs. My sincere apologies for the delay. I am thankful to the many readers of my blog in LinkedIn. It is your enthusiasm that makes me write more often.

That’s where I stand in my blogging. I had assumed that with the second wave in India coming down, there may not be anything more to write about Covid 19. Maybe I was wrong. There are four different variant strains of SARS CoV-19. First is the alpha virus from China, the original one. The second is the beta variant from S. Africa. The third one is gamma variant from Brazil. Fourth is the delta variant from India. Now we also have delta plus. So, I may be forced to write about these variants at some time if they are problematic.

Those of you who would like to keep abreast of the news relating to Covid-19, may want to see and subscribe to the YouTube videos posted by Dr David Campbell. He provides most up-to-date information on this disease.

In one of my next blogs, I will share about what I am learning about development economics and poverty reduction.

Now I am entering an area where I would like professionals to be critical of what I write. That is how knowledge is built.

Of course, you can also ask very specific and pointed questions relating to any area that I am communicating through my blogs. Your questions will focus my responses.

Thanks

Rajaratnam Abel

Transitioning from Covid-19 to Poverty Reduction and Health

Poverty and health were the areas of my lifetime work and focus. I had started publishing my experiences in this area. With Covid-19 taking a centre stage throughout the past year, I did not get into my area of interest.

Recognising that prevention of Covid-19 is the primary strategy to handle the disease, the focus of responsibility falls on each one to take steps to avoid the risk of contracting the disease. Should any important information on Covid-19 become available, I will share through these pages. Otherwise, I will begin focusing on lessons I learnt in reducing poverty and its impact on health.

God blessed me by enabling me to spend twenty-seven out of thirty-five years of my active service being associated one way or the other with reducing poverty through the Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs popularly known as RUHSA of Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.

In the year 2000, as part of the silver jubilee celebration of RUHSA and based on taking a sabbatical break, I was able to write and publish a book on RUHSA, under the title, ‘Sustainable Health and Development: RUHSA’s experiences.’ It is out of print with only PDF copies being available.

So even as I move away from Covid-19, I wanted to use this opportunity to make my book on Covid-19 available for free download on two days of May 31st and 1st of June. The link to the book is given below.

About two years ago, I published my next book entitled, ‘Businessmen for the Poor: Reducing poverty by creating small businessmen and businesswomen.’ I am in the process of editing this book to bring out the second edition, focusing much more on the strategies to reduce poverty with more data being thrown in. The draft title is ‘Pathways to reduce poverty.’

There is more to poverty reduction than just the social dimension. Its economic dimension is also significant. While I am not an economist, I have learnt that the process of poverty reduction is closely related to development economics.

There are simple online courses that teach the basic principles of development economics. As I started learning these concepts it was clear how some of these were observed in my work. That has motivated me to look at micro-level principles of development economics. With God’s help, I am toying with the idea of bringing out the next book based on our experiences in the area of development economics. 

So even as I move into poverty reduction in my blogging, I thought it appropriate to make available my E-book on ‘Businessmen for the Poor’ as well, as a free book to those who are interested in owning a free copy of my book. The link is available below.

I have a third book on biography. Being a graduate of CMC Vellore, I read about the life history of the ancestors of Dr Ida Sophia Scudder. Her grandfather, Dr John Scudder was the first fully trained doctor who went to any country to serve. His life is a story of sacrifice. Those who would be interested in having this book as well may get a free book, with the link given below.

I hope you will find the topic of poverty reduction interesting and useful for a country like India or even some of the states in particular or even any other country of the world. I would value your downloading and sharing this with your friends, relatives and other professional contacts as well as by posting through your own social media pages.

Rajaratnam Abel

Links to my books

1.Book Businessmen for the Poor

Global eBook Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/f801tz

Indian eBook Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/k901tz

2.Book COVID-19

Global eBook COVID-19 http://tiny.cc/gb01tz

Indian eBook COVID-19 http://tiny.cc/bb01tz

3.Book Dr John Scudder

Global eBook Dr John Scudder http://tiny.cc/ob01tz

Indian eBook Dr John Scudder http://tiny.cc/wb01tz

 

With Covid 19 hitting the roof in India what should you do?

It’s been more than a month since I last posted my blog on Covid 19.

Of course, there’s nothing much to write now except the increase in cases and deaths in India and now in Tamilnadu.

The big question is what should be done in such a situation?

I’ll share with you what I am doing under the circumstances.

I recommend the advice of those who have come back alive from the Covid 19 experience; “Take every step to prevent contracting the disease. Even the mildest infection is a difficult experience.”

Here’s what I am doing to prevent Covid 19.

I am staying put in my home over 90% of the time. I go out only when my presence is absolutely needed to obtain food, medicines and cash from the ATM. I avoid going into crowded shops or places and try to avoid airconditioned shops except when absolutely necessary.

I try to maintain safe distances and force others to maintain distances by not coming closer to me than needed.

I wear mask always while going out, having increased to double masking recently. I try to force others with whom I have to come in contact to wear masks whenever possible.

I wash my hands with soap and water as often as possible as well as sanitising whenever needed.

I started steam inhalation twice a day- breathing in through nose and breathing out through the mouth and then reversing it by breathing in through the mouth and breathing out through the nose with each done 15 times. (Recommended 10 times). I have not kept up the habit as the first Chinese made inhaler that I bought was so flimsy it conked out within a few weeks. I have not got into the habit again after purchasing a second one.

We try to consume immune boosting foods including mixed vegetable juice as well as juice made of varieties of greens. Whenever possible we add thulsi or royal basil leaves and thuthuvalai leaves.

Most important of all, both my wife and I have taken two shots of the Covishield with six weeks gap.

What more can I do to prevent Covid 19?

It does not mean that what I am doing is 100% risk free.

With the circle of Covid 19 infections and associated deaths getting closer, I am not ashamed to say that I do have fear at times.

On the other hand, I have tremendous faith in my God, that He will not allow this disease to strike me without His divine permission. Even in such a situation, I am at peace with my God as to whatever should be the outcome.

There is so much confused advice coming out on immunisation, the effective ones, the complications of differing vaccines and the intervals being recommended between the first and the second dose. I do not intend to get into that muddled area.

Whenever you get the opportunity to have the vaccine against Covid 19 take it. In spite of apparent failure in some, over all the benefit is worth the vaccine.

Very gradually, I’ll move out of blogging on Covid 19 and move on to my major work on poverty reduction.

As in the past, I am offering free download of my three eBooks with the links given below on the 31 of May and the 1st of June.


Links to my books 

1.Book Businessmen for the Poor

Global eBook Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/f801tz  

Indian eBook Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/k901tz  

2.Book COVID-19

Global eBook COVID-19 http://tiny.cc/gb01tz 

Indian eBook COVID-19 http://tiny.cc/bb01tz 

3.Book Dr John Scudder

Global eBook Dr John Scudder http://tiny.cc/ob01tz 

Indian eBook Dr John Scudder http://tiny.cc/wb01tz

I trust that you will find these eBooks useful and that you can share with your friends and relatives.        

Rajaratnam Abel

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I’ve Completed my Covid Vaccines. Am I fully safe?

It’s been some time since I posted my last blog. I told you I was going to share about the complications of the vaccines. But I am sorry, I did not get sufficient information to pass on through a blog.

I am happy that at least the companies are now willing to accept that there are complications. In the initial stages, they just kept saying, even deaths were not related to the vaccines. At least powerful governments have forced some of the companies to review more systematically their vaccines and the suspected complications. I am not going to talk about complications yet.

Last week both my wife and I have completed the second dose of Covishield vaccine. By God’s grace, both of us did not have any side effects-no fever or pain.

I want to share a message posted by a doctor from India in Whatsapp. This narrates how even after he got both the shots of the vaccine, he still came down with the disease. Just read below the story of Dr Rajgopal Shenoy, Surgeon at Kilpauk Medical College, Chennai, India.

I just wanted to let you all know that both myself Dr Rajgopal and my wife Dr Anitha contracted COVID-19 ten days ago. We had taken both doses of the vaccine and three weeks after the second dose, we went to Vapi via, Mumbai (airport transit only) to attend a wedding reception and inauguration of a new hospital.

We both had been so careful all through last year but let our guard down just this one time thinking we are safe because we have taken the vaccine. Please remember that the vaccine does not prevent us from contracting COVID-19 (we are examples).

We can still get it if we are not careful. So, I request those of you who have got the vaccine, to continue to take care as before (wearing mask, social distancing etc). Don’t let your guard down.

Yes, the vaccine reduces the severity of COVID and that is how we have got through it successfully. Our disease was categorised as mild. Even then, it was not just a bit of a cold and sore throat. It was pneumonia, our oxygen levels came down and it affected our coagulation system.

Luckily, we did not need oxygen. We have both recovered are back home now but the experience is something we could have done without. 7 days home isolation and 3 days hospitalisation at Udupi and 7 more days now home.

No need to really isolate but need rest. Take care, my dear family & friends! This is for your information. Wish you all good health!!

He is not the only one who has got the infection after the vaccine. We still do not know the full benefit and impact of the vaccines. Of course, all vaccines are not 100% effective. So, there is that margin. But this seems beyond that ineffective range.

Instead of getting into discussions on the merits and demerits of the vaccines, those who have taken the vaccines, and those will take the vaccines in the future, still need to take precautions.

What people say as this doctor has said, the disease that comes on after vaccine is not severe. No one is reported to have died, getting the disease after the vaccine.

Knowing the possible complications as presented in the news, those who choose to have the vaccine should go ahead and have it. We do not know who will react negatively. It will take some time before we know the full story of the complications associated with the vaccine.

So, continue to take the precautions- mask, safe distance, sanitising/soap washing, etc. Avoid large gatherings and don’t go out more than what is absolutely essential. With the current wave of Covid in India, those living here should take care.  

You’ll be surprised. The church where I grew up and worked has published my book COVID-19 and distributed it free to church leaders in India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives. Additionally, they are distributing it free to some of the teachers of schools.

To my readers, I am making the eBook COVID-19 available for free download for two days. Please feel free to download a copy for yourself and even share the information with your family members, friends and colleagues. It is available in the following link.

Free downloads on 17th and 18th of April 2021

Book COVID-19

Global eBook COVID-19 http://tiny.cc/gb01tz 

Indian eBook COVID-19 http://tiny.cc/bb01tz 

My other book Businessmen for the Poor is also available for free download on 17th and 18th of April 2021 in the following link.


Book Businessmen for the Poor

Global eBook Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/f801tz  

Indian eBook Businessmen for the Poor http://tiny.cc/k901tz

For your good health,

Rajaratnam Abel

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