"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

Dec 13, 2009
MJ’s “This Is It”: The pursuit of perfection

This column doesn’t do film reviews. Every so often, however, a film experience comes along that requires you to break your own rules. Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” is one such experience, and one that I am happy to ask you not to miss, if you have any interest in the nature and experience of […]

Read More
Dec 06, 2009
Kenya’s musicians: where are you?

Your holy war, your northern star / Your sermon on the mount from the boot of your car. …September, streets capsizing / Spilling over down the drains Shard of glass, splinters like rain / But you could only feel your own pain. Please / Get up off your knees. Please / Leave me out of […]

Read More
Nov 29, 2009
Rewarding cheats is the road to ruin

Legendary French football striker Thierry Henry handled the ball illegally last week, and set up his compatriot to score against the Republic of Ireland in a crunch qualifying game for next year’s World Cup. The referee did not notice. France went through as a result of this gross injustice, and the Irish were bundled out. […]

Read More
Nov 01, 2009
Growing kidnapping culture could destroy our society

It behoves every society to look ahead, to peer through the mists of time and see what might happen to it tomorrow. We often wait for bad events to occur before addressing them, yet a little anticipatory thinking might allow us to foresee them and avoid them. There is a very serious problem brewing in […]

Read More
Oct 25, 2009
Ethnic enclaves are the bane of Kenya

I want to tell you about “my” music this Sunday. My distant forebears emerged from the Punjab region in India and Pakistan, the land of the five rivers. The farmers living in this fertile land had plenty of time in which to develop their folk music, and they did a fine job. The music of […]

Read More
Oct 04, 2009
Ditch these bizarre superstitions

I read a news report from India recently that left me thinking I had been flung back in time. Apparently farmers in Bihar, one of India’s most backward states, are forcing their unmarried daughters to plough their fields naked after sunset. This is in an attempt to “embarrass” the gods into sending rain to the […]

Read More
Sep 20, 2009
What the census already revealed

So we completed our national census exercise, and now we sit back to await the results. Kenyans will, of course, be very eager to know the numbers. But part of me wonders: do we really need to wait for the final tallies? Just the manner in which we ran this momentous exercise tells us a […]

Read More
Sep 13, 2009
Why Kenyans are crazy about foreign football

Last week my respected fellow columnist Professor Makau Mutua laid into Kenyans for following English rather than Kenyan football. The good professor was concerned about this new “colonisation” of the minds of Kenyans by its former ruler. Now, I have raged against inauthenticity and mindless mimicry myself many a time on this page, so why […]

Read More
Sep 06, 2009
Give the young hope in Kenya

Last week this column looked at the issue of nationality and patriotism as seen in world sports championships. I suggested we would lose many more of our athletes to richer countries, simply because we are not making this an attractive country for young people to be in. Do we ever stop to ask ourselves: why […]

Read More
Aug 30, 2009
When Linet Masai and I became siblings

When the athletes came round the final bend, our girl looked a distant third, her energy seemingly spent. The expected winner, from Ethiopia, began sprinting away and building a supposedly insurmountable lead. But somehow the Kenyan runner, against all the odds, found a final reserve tank and moved into higher gear. She began a frantic […]

Read More
Jul 26, 2009
Dependency culture is crippling many

We don’t have a welfare state in Kenya. Or do we? Look at it this way. Of our 35-plus million people, only around 2 million are in any form of ‘formal’ or ‘modern’ employment. Kenya as a country offers proper employment to fewer people than Wal-Mart does. It is these few people who form most […]

Read More
Jul 20, 2009
Your brand may be way less effective than you think

“Every marketer is up against this new reality: The world is overflowing with brands, and consumers are having a hard time assessing the differences among them. In 2006, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued 196,400 trademarks, almost 100,000 more than it had in 1990. The average supermarket today holds 30,000 different brands, up threefold […]

Read More
Jul 19, 2009
Obama only saying what we know to be true

“No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt. No person wants to […]

Read More
Jul 05, 2009
The final legacy of Michael Jackson

I wanted to write an article about Michael Jackson this week. But as I sat down to do it, I found myself at a complete loss. There are at least four different articles I could write about the man, some of them contradictory. But perhaps contradiction is what defined the ‘King of Pop’ who died […]

Read More
Jun 28, 2009
Crime waves: the apathy continues

I am writing this column because I am still alive. Sounds obvious, but many are no longer alive to read these words. The insane crime wave that has gripped the country over the past few weeks has taken many casualties. We, the survivors, are able to talk about insecurity and feel outraged by it. Those […]

Read More
Jun 21, 2009
Let’s pamper our MPs even more…

There seems to be a bit of noise in the country about the proposal to build a walkway connecting Parliament Building, Continental House and County Hall at a proposed cost of Sh 61 million. This is to allow our members of parliament to cross the road with ease as they walk between their primary workplaces. […]

Read More
Jun 14, 2009
Development lessons from tiny Rwanda

Consider this country. Civil servants are required to report on duty at seven o’clock every morning. Cabinet ministers are given a modest amount by the government with which to purchase official vehicles, and an appropriate maintenance allowance; if they choose to use a large gas-guzzler, they do so with their own money. This country’s capital […]

Read More
Jun 01, 2009
How sincere is your company’s CSR programme?

“As firms grapple with a brutal economic downturn, they are taking a long, hard look at the resources they devote to everything from supporting charities to making their activities carbon-neutral. That is hardly surprising: cutting back on CSR, or “sustainability” as it is sometimes known, would seem to be a quick and relatively painless way […]

Read More
May 31, 2009
Learn from this failing football club

Newcastle United got relegated from the English Premier League last week. “Say what”? I hear some (but not all) of you shout in unison. Don’t we get enough mania about foreign football in this country, without ‘A Sunny Day’ adding to the madness? Is it not enough that a deranged young Kenyan recently killed himself, […]

Read More
May 25, 2009
Manager bullies may be killing your organisation

“As we burrow deeper into the recession, companies around the world are cutting costs in all the usual ways—by reducing headcount, slashing capital budgets, and trimming overheads. All these measures are vital. But in their quest to root out inefficiencies, companies should also be focusing on the hidden but substantial costs of supercilious and overbearing […]

Read More
May 24, 2009
A jolly good British scandal

I don’t know about you, but I find it immensely entertaining when the British are caught in a moral quandary. This is a nation that often preaches moral probity and higher-order values and ethics to the rest of the world; it is great sport when they get their own knickers in a twist, as they […]

Read More
May 17, 2009
A most peculiar nation we are…

Be in no doubt: we are a most peculiar nation. We are peculiar in our homes, peculiar in our places of work and worship, and peculiar when we meet socially. We are peculiar in how we talk, work and behave. Indeed, the extent of our peculiarity is in itself peculiar. Here are just six peculiarities, […]

Read More
May 10, 2009
Time to focus on Nairobi’s present, not its future

There may not be many freshwater springs left in Nairobi, but hope certainly springs eternal here. We keep hoping for the ‘Nairobi we want’, or even the ‘Nairobi we had.’ Anything but the ‘Nairobi we have.’ Is there reason to be hopeful again? Well, the regular game of musical chairs at the top has completed […]

Read More
May 04, 2009
Your job-grading system may be the problem

“Most companies grade their employees’ jobs using some kind of ranking or rating system based on job evaluation. The grades assigned are intended to assess fair pay for people doing the same work, and are usually public, like the letter grades of schools. In theory, these systems are supposed to help people manage their careers, […]

Read More
Apr 27, 2009
Watch out for a Ponzi scheme hatching near you…

“In financial history, Ponzi schemes – the fraudulent enterprise of paying off old investors with money collected from new ones – are the most peculiar of crimes. Before they are detected, they seem exquisitely pleasing to perpetrators and victims alike. The fraud appears to be a bountiful gift that the confidence trickster, a generous soul […]

Read More
Apr 26, 2009
Reclaiming good values in Kenya: what’s your personal agenda?

I went on the attack against the ‘followers’ in this country last week, and asked that we all examine our everyday behaviour rather than wait for ‘leaders’ to sort us out. The attack continues this week. We heard recently that a magistrate had been killed and his body dumped on the roadside. Newspaper reports now […]

Read More
Apr 19, 2009
What’s our real problem – leaders or followers?

There is a prominent new sign on Nairobi’s Uhuru Highway, just after the University Way roundabout. It says: “No stopping for buses and matatus”. Rightly so: it is very dangerous for vehicles to stop on a busy fast-moving highway – the chances of a pile-up are big. And guess what? That is exactly where buses […]

Read More
Apr 12, 2009
Future success is not guaranteed – for anyone

Icarus flew too close to the sun, and came crashing down into the sea. He became giddy with excitement at his ability to fly, and was punished for his over-confidence. That is a Greek fable, but all societies have their tales about the phenomenon of hubris – the excessive pride or arrogance that so many […]

Read More