Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Archive for the ‘Diversity’ Category

Where are you?

December 14, 2015

The other day I was chatting with a fellow trainer who told me a mutual contact had moved on to another training organisation. I decided to look him up and try to make contact with a view to seeing if there were any opportunity there to do business. I located the company’s website and sought […]

Ten words for a better world?

November 30, 2015

There’s an awful lot of upset in the world at the moment. Our media and leaders seem intent on sending messages that can strike fear in our hearts, stifle our spirit. The assumption is that the only way forward must be to fight. As my way of handling this, I list a number of words […]

Flowers in the Jungle

October 26, 2015

This week’s blog post is a little different, as I’m handing it over to a guest blogger – Clara Markiewicz, my eighteen year old daughter. She wrote this piece a couple of weeks ago, following her first visit to the Jungle refugee camp in Calais, Northern France. I’ve been trying to write this post for […]

So brave!

August 24, 2015

In recent months, my work has had me travelling to places as diverse as Bulgaria, Czech Republic, India, US and even Croydon. This has prompted a number of people to say how brave I am to venture out to such places on my own, given my visual impairment. On the one hand, hearing such plaudits […]

Horny in India

June 22, 2015

I have just returned from a week in India, where I was running a training course for one of my UK clients who have an office out there. Sadly, I had little time to explore and sightsee, but did have direct experience of one particular Indian phenomenon – the traffic. I spent quite a bit […]

Seriously funny

May 11, 2015

Being as I’m now in my 60th year, thoughts can easily turn to the kinds of fears people of my age have for later life. For me, these can include failing health, financial challenges and my diminishing eyesight. Yet, one that equally concerns me is the fear of being patronised by others. I see this […]

A not so golden rule

February 9, 2015

Imagine you are working at an airport. It’s a small regional airport and an outgoing flight with 100 passengers waiting to board is indefinitely delayed owing to a faulty plane. As the evening wears on, the shop and cafeteria close and the passengers become increasingly tired and hungry. Eventually, you decide to take an initiative. Thinking […]

‘Misfits, loners and vagrants’

December 22, 2014

So, here we are yet again all caught up in the Christmas and New Year whirl! Many of us are, of course very fortunate to have family and friends to share the season with, but of course there are many others who, for whatever reason, are likely to be spending Christmas on their own. I […]

Poppies

November 10, 2014

Remembrance Sunday was generally considered a fitting tribute to those that have fought for our country. The display of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London was also a poignant reminder of every one of our troops who never made it as a result of World War 1. I think it’s absolutely appropriate to remember […]

What’s in a name?

November 3, 2014

Names fascinate me. We can all think of people we know or in the public arena who have names that couldn’t better suit their profession. My first bank manager was named Ransom. I think it fun that one of the gardening experts on Radio 4 is called Bob Flowerdew. I wonder whether names help determine […]

Inwazja Angielskiego

October 27, 2014

Imagine walking down your local high street and seeing advertising slogans, signs and other such items written in say French or Czech or even in Cyrillic or Arabic script. I’m certain it could feel quite alienating and even invasive. While working away in Central Europe (Czech Republic and Bulgaria) over the past two weeks, I […]

Confessions of a swinger

October 20, 2014

I’m a swinger. There it is, I’ve finally come out and said it. I’ve been a swinger for most of my adult life. Living in the great metropolis of London has probably provided the most fertile territory for my swinging, although I’m certain there there are also swingers doing their thing across the nation in […]

The eyes have it

September 29, 2014

So there I am, sat on a Piccadilly Line train on my way home from the airport. A man gets on and sits opposite me. He is wearing dark glasses and, try as I might, I can’t help but feel uneasy. The tiny incident made me realise just how fundamental our eyes are when it […]

Tolerance? I’m not so sure

June 16, 2014

Much has been written and said in recent weeks about British values and how they should be held up as being what makes our country “great”.  One word that keeps cropping up in this debate  is “tolerance”. I’d say, that venerating  this as a value represents hyperbole of considerable proportions. Yes, the British may be […]

Abuse? What abuse?

June 9, 2014

I was speaking to a friend a while back who told me he had listened to a radio phone-in about abusive behaviour, and even violence, towards blind and visually impaired people. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hear the programme myself. However I have heard of this before, yet still found myself astonished at the fact […]

The good life

April 21, 2014

I’ve never felt particularly comfortable around words like morals or ethics –somehow they smack of judgment, right and wrong and of such things being passed down from some rule book or higher authority. What I do know is that they are all too often the subject of great intellectual and philosophical debate – usually involving […]

Look at me!

March 10, 2014

Way back in 1994, I had the good fortune to visit Australia. I was there for five weeks and absolutely loved it. One of the most interesting places I passed through was Nimbin, a small, dusty ramshackle town in New South Wales populated by all manner of “alternative” types. Walking down the main street in […]

William at the Oasis

February 24, 2014

He’s there almost every day by the Oasis. Almost always smiling. Almost always engaging with anyone who passes by. Almost always talking some kind of good natured nonsense. And, his voice carries, so you can usually hear him from a fair distance as you approach. William  is a customer of the Oasis – a café […]

A man from NASA and the toilet attendant

February 3, 2014

Theres a lovely, simple story – possibly apocryphal –  that goes back to the 60’s about a janitor working at the US space agency (NASA). He was asked by a visiting diginitary what his job was. The janitor replied: “I’m helping put a man on the moon”. This blog is published on a Monday morning, […]

Violence

January 27, 2014

I’ve always considered myself to be a peace loving, non-violent kind of person. Admittedly, I fall short of being all hippy about it, but I’m certainly not the type to throw my weight around or get into fights. In fact, I don’t recall ever actually having been in a physical fight – even in my […]

In defence of thin skin

December 16, 2013

Whilst participating in an online  discussion recently, I found myself needing to tell someone that I was not happy about a personal comment he’d sent my way. He responded by saying that I shouldn’t have such a thin skin. I thought he may well have been right, given that I do at times fall a […]

An abundance of Mandelas?

December 9, 2013

“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson . I have to start this post  by making a striking admission.  I have felt somewhat detached from […]

Shoulders back!

December 2, 2013

A couple of years ago I was on a tube platform in Central London. I spotted a tall, elegant man with white hair standing with a Transport for London (TFL) employee next to him. They were chatting – I guess making small talk whilst awaiting the next train. The tall man was holding a white […]

A lesson from “Australian rules football”

November 4, 2013

Missionaries working with Aboriginals in 19th century Australia decided one day to teach some of the local  youngsters to play soccer. They set about marking out a pitch, setting up makeshift goalposts and recruiting two  teams of eager players. So, the match was on. The teams played with great gusto, throwing themselves into it 100%. […]

Understanding

August 12, 2013

A few weeks back I promised a mate I’d watch a TV programme on line that he’d referred me to. I haven’t got round to it yet, as it’s a show that seeks to disprove the value and efficacy of complementary therapies. To be honest, I’m not sure I really want to watch it, given […]

So, why am I not blind?

July 8, 2013

I can recall that day 32 years ago almost as if it were yesterday. I remember the consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital uttering words like incurable, disease and blind as he told me of my diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). He made no bones about it, there was every likelihood I would lose all my sight in […]

Sweet sixteens

June 24, 2013

My daughter Clara had her 16th birthday party the other evening. There were about twenty youngsters there, both girls and boys – including Adam, her younger brother. Everyone got on brilliantly. In fact, they all seem to get on famously every time they get together. For example, a number of the families went camping together […]

Open letter to the head of Lacoste Retail UK

June 17, 2013

Dear Sir/Madam Please excuse the impersonal appearance of this letter, however I have had difficulty establishing the name of the top person at Lacoste in the UK. Hopefully, given the wonders of the internet, this missive will find its way to you. On a recent Sunday afternoon,  I visited your retail store in Gatwick Airport. […]

Roots

May 13, 2013

The black UK comedian, Lenny Henry once quipped about a response he gave to a racist comment. A man had told him to go back to where he came from – at which Henry tells us that he duly got on the next train to Dudley. I find that joke rather sad – but for […]

Oh, for a simpler life!

April 22, 2013

I went into a bank recently in order to pay a bill. It wasn’t my usual branch, so they didn’t know me. Also, I’d not filled in my payment slip as I didn’t have my reading specs with me. I arrived at  the cashier’s window and, white cane in hand,  passed over the payment and slip […]

Easter message: “I don’t care”

April 1, 2013

Recently I watched a fascinating episode of the excellent Storyville documentary series on the BBC. This particular edition was about the Anonymous movement which has arisen in recent years. I found the programme fascinating, inspiring, sinister and scary in pretty much equal measure. However, I want to focus on just the very last few seconds […]

Broken windows

March 18, 2013

I have. for many years been a great admirer of the work of Dr Marshall Rosenberg who, several decades ago, devised a new model for communication called “Non Violent Communication” (NVC). I particularly loved a story he told on one of his workshops that I attended. He had been invited into a high school somewhere […]

Observation from a Facebook forum

March 4, 2013

I regularly dip into a Facebook forum page for people with visual impairment. As is typical of such pages, people will post questions, comments, experiences and so on. Most, but not all of the subscribers to the forum are UK based and the majority seem to be white British. What I have also noticed is […]

A new flag to wave?

January 14, 2013

“Every bullet that is fired, is destined for some mother’s child”  Anon  I greatly enjoyed watching Simon Amstell’s stand up routine “Numb” on the BBC the other day. I was particularly amused and struck by his routine about flag waving. Asking where each of us comes from, he pointed out that we, every one of […]

Walking home

November 26, 2012

I was on the train the other day, travelling home after a day’s work. I spotted, across the carriage a neighbour of mine sitting, reading. I’m not certain whether he saw me, but I was keen not to engage. So I decided not to and kept my head down all the way back. Was it […]

What’s in a name?

October 22, 2012

So, there I was on the first day of my first full time job, looking resplendent in my brown polyester suit and equally polyester shirt and tie. Sitting opposite me was my new boss, Alan. “Welcome aboard, Chris” he said cheerily “I hope you enjoy working here”. His face then turned more stern, as he […]

Seeing

October 15, 2012

This week has me schlepping down to the City Road in Central London to see a Mr Webster, who is my consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital.  I catch up with him every year and, each time I come away reminded of how much I can see as well as how much I can’t. I can […]

Everyday heroes

September 3, 2012

So, the paralympians are currently out there doing their stuff and awe inspiring it certainly is. Hardly a minute goes by where someone on the TV, radio or press doesn’t enthuse about the impressiveness of the achievements on the sports field, in the pool or the arena. Much is made of what amazing role models […]

The “Nor-way”

August 27, 2012

“During the trial we got the story of Breivik’s past and why he became that way. I think that’s the most important thing for us who are trying to become politicians – that we want to create a society that won’t create another Breivik……….We need to create a society that includes everyone, so no one […]

The trap

August 20, 2012

I have a pal who runs a small business. Things haven’t been too great for him lately business-wise and, like many others he’s feeling the pinch. The last couple of times I called him on his mobile, his voicemail was switched off and I got a recording of an anonymous woman’s voice declaring that I […]

Chris the contract breaker

July 9, 2012

When we sign up to a contract it is a serious commitment. We are duty bound to honour the agreement for the good of both parties and hopefully to the rest of the community. However, there is one contract that I have repeatedly broken throughout most of my life. Now, before any of my business […]

The diversity paradox

March 19, 2012

Are there times where you feel on the outside of things, as if you don’t fit, don’t belong?  This can certainly be my own experience  for an assortment of reasons and, I have an inkling that it applies to just about all of us at some time or other. Three weeks ago, along with my […]