Sunday, November 9, 2014

Which is your favorite child?

So I have 3 kids. I have been worried about the middle child feeling neglected and somehow being permanently affected by that. I am also a middle child of 3. I was not affected by middle child syndrome because I am an only boy. But my kids are all girls, so no chance of gender favoritism to help me out.

To guide me I mostly have my experience watching my parents raising us. I remember growing up; I felt that my sister’s got more attention than I did. My dad seemed so in awe of my elder sister and then of course he dotted on the baby. I just kept getting told how a boy or a man was supposed to behave. My mum on the other hand was neutral. If you messed up you got the treatment. It did not matter if you were the middle child or the baby. She was somehow also able to give everyone equal special treatment.

Then I watched the Carmicheal and Shane video. It was a very thought affirming video for me. As an allegory on life, it is brilliant. But I find that it is relevant for my dilemma too. The solution for me is to choose the middle child.

From the video the advice is to try and figure out which of the kids is more likely to make it and back that one. But I believe all my kids will make it. However the middle child is likely to fall through the cracks if I do not make a conscious effort to help her succeed.

So when I get into the house, I walk to the middle child and sit with her. When I get into their room to read a bedtime story I sit on her bed and read it from there. If I have a profile picture that is not the 3 of them, it will be just her.

But before you shoot me for favoritism, let me explain. Think about this as affirmative action rather than favoritism. Its like giving the plant in the shade extra fertilizer. It’s like putting an extra line in your advertisement saying, “Female candidates are encouraged to apply”. My middle child is getting preferential treatment because she has a natural disadvantage from being born in the middle.

I am not an idiot.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Beer ni bora!!

It is a warm Friday night. It was very hot during the day and I am grateful for the well-chilled Nile Gold provided by the dreadlocked waiter at Old Timers' bar. It is actually difficult to take the bottle off my lips as the beer tastes sooo gooood. 3 bottles later in walk these 3 skinny ladies in matching green outfits. One of them has a behind that cannot be real for sure. It has only been 3 bottles of Nile Gold so I cannot be seeing things yet.

Probably because I am staring so hard at her, she approaches just as I open a fresh Nile Gold. 

The conversation:
She says: Hi
He says: Well hello!
She says: My name is Heve and I wanted to talk to you about Heineken
He says: Very good Heve please go ahead
She says: Heineken is a very tasty international beer that will apply to your sense of style If you drink it you will feel international and tonight we have it at the promotional price of only 6k.
He says: (while looking around for hidden cameras because this is obviously a prank) but Heve, please explain to me why I would leave my perfectly chilled Malt sold at 4k and buy your pale lager at 6k?
She says: (obviously stunned by my technical approach, resorts to smiling and brushing the add-on to my leg and in so doing confirming to me that it is an add-on) Heineken is international and once you take it, you will realize that Nile Gold is so local
(so much for my vaunted sense of style then)
He says: I am sorry Heve, but I only drink Malts and your add-on bum is crooked. Are you lame? May be you should get rid of your international bum and foreign name and try a local home grown variety. I personally find them a lot more attractive.
She says: (Walks quickly to the bathroom to adjust add-on)
He says: Beer ni bora.

These Heineken people should really give these ladies better ammunition.  Who cares about feeling international when drinking beer? Certainly not the patrons of Old Timers' bar. Who is going to abandon the beer he loves and pay and extra 2k for a beer whose morning after he is not sure about? And skimpily clad ladies with artificial appendages will not make me give up my trusted malt for Heineken.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Gods of Football

So she asked a set of very weird questions at the end of the world cup 2014 final. “Why has Messi got a trophy when he his team has just lost?” “Why is Messi not happy when he has just got a trophy?” “I thought Messi was the best player in the world, how come he did not win the game?”

Now where to begin my darling…

Human beings have a strong desire to deify. A Ugandan woman who did not think she was horny, but who gets an orgasm from a man suddenly starts to worship that man. A football loving man who experiences pleasure as an Argentine man glides past his fellow professionals and scores a spectacular goal, will instantly label the Argentine a footballing god.

Please allow me to explain the god credentials of these footballers.

Consider Neymar, the star of the Brazilian side. The entire country’s hopes rested on his shoulders. One more straw would literally be the only extra weight needed to break this camel’s back. So imagine instead what effect a 75kg Columbian would have. The fact that Neymar only broke one bone in his back is evidence enough that he is a god. But since you want more evidence, please look at how they collapsed once he was out. Before they met Germany in the semi-final Neymar dazzled most teams and got rough treatment in return. Because they so worshiped him, his teammates responded by employing some rough tactics of their own on the opposition. That is what we call inspiration.

Now there is this chap nicknamed El Pistolero. True he has quite a reputation as a gunslinger, but he rose to almighty status once the British media decided to make an enemy of him. As happens, the universe decided that Uruguay would play England in the group stages of the world cup. Then Suarez got injured and from that point on the British media went to great lengths to portray him as a paraplegic who would be lucky to ever walk again. The entire British nation, including their silly football team believed the lie. I call them silly because some of them are friends and teammates of Suarez at Liverpool and should really have known better. So the match itself was like that movie The Usual Suspects. Jagielka, Stevie G and Hart were very generous as usual. And the genius mastermind was the ‘crippled’ Suarez. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was deceive the world that he did not exist. Only in this case the devil was the British press and they were left screaming … Keyser Söze!!! And they were not the only ones. Italy also soon discovered that in Suarez, Uruguay had a player ready to fight TOOTH and nail.

When we were growing up as kids, no one liked to play in goal when we played football. So usually the fattest least mobile kid ended up there. This was fine for normal play, but as soon as a penalty was awarded suddenly everyone on the team that conceded it would scream “CHANGE KEEPER!” So I was not surprised when just before the end of extra time in the match between Holland and Costa Rica the coach Luis Van Gaal replaced his keeper. What was surprising was that for doing something that kids everywhere in Uganda do, he was declared a god by pundits the world over. Forget that he failed to win the game in regular time but spare a thought for the poor Costa Ricans for whom the antics of the dutch keeper Tim were a Krul end to their world cup.

Talking about Dutch penalties, there was that one at the end of the game against Mexico. Jose Mourinho declared him the god of the dive, but Arjen Robben is a joy to watch when running with the ball at his feet. In the final minute of added on time, Robben raced into the box slaloming defenders like a downhill ski champ. He was having so much fun that he almost failed to notice the byline fast approaching. Noticing it in the nick of time, he stopped and attempted to ski uphill. Waiting for him was Mexican captain Rafael Marqueze who stuck out his big toe in an attempt to nick the ball. The next thing the world knew, Robben had collapsed in a heap and Huntelar buried the penalty that sunk Mexico. The inquest into that Dutch penalty will continue for a long time but here is what I have discovered so far. Robben takes a step to steady himself after the alleged contact but then he gets shot by the 2nd shooter on the grassy knoll; flying into the air like a redbull sky diver. That stuff gives you wings.

Back to the questions asked earlier. Unlike all the gods I have talked about above, Messi is like a proper big God (ignore his midget frame). The whole world believed he would stand up against the efficient German machine and lead his country to the Promised Land. So he was given the golden ball in recognition of his majesty. He was not happy because as a big God, it was annoying to be done by Super Mario, whose only claim to fame was as a video game character on old Nintendo machines.

But Messi should be consoled that even the one true God makes mistakes sometimes and messes things up. I am sure there will be a rainbow in Argentina for the whole week.

When I looked over I noticed She had dozed on during my monologue.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lately I am having trouble sleeping

This week I have had trouble sleeping despite feeling extra tired every night. Regularly at 7pm having dinner, watching TV and the head starts to feel heavy. I can barely keep my eyes open and yet when I get into bed I am tossing and turning. I am struggling with the constant compromise between thinking and breathing.

It started on Sunday after Liverpool beat Manchester City in the most dramatic of fashion.

You see on Saturday as I walked through Rosebank Mall I was accosted by a white man. Yes, a white man run towards a black man in a crowded mall shouting “JUSTICE”, at the top of his voice. The problem you see is that I was wearing my Liverpool replica shirt and he happens to be a Hillsborough survivor. This week marks 25 years since 96 people went off to watch a football match and never came back.

But he did not let on right away that he was a survivor as he put his hand around my shoulder and started to lecture me about the history of the club that is Liverpool Football Club. He informed me of how when the club was just formed 13 of their players were called up to fight the Boer war for the British. How they chose to play a game against Leicester City before departing and they ended up missing the ship to South Africa. How they then had to take a ferry cross the Mersey to catch the ship. They sailed to South Africa and had to walk inland for days to catch up with the Boers. Arriving in a place called Spioenkop tired and hungry and were promptly ordered to take a nearby hill. They all died on that hill. Their cremated remains and the blood soaked sand from that hill were used to build the famous Spion Kop at Anfield.

Meanwhile a small crowd, attracted by the initial fracas, had gathered around us. Someone in the crowd started tugging at my new Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro (my precious old one had been snatched from my hands on the streets of Kampala). I held firm, but I later learned he wanted to record the scene for me.I need to start being more trusting perhaps. But imagine this black man in South Africa surrounded by all these white people gawking.

As I watched Liverpool crumble in the early part of the second half of the game at Sunday lunchtime, I could not help but wonder if the players were feeling the effects of not having eaten lunch. I then remembered those poor sods that died, tired and hungry on that hill in Spioenkop. I found myself singing that famous song about dreams being tossed and blown in the wind and how we strangely were not walking alone; as I too was hungry (unable to eat before the game due to some very playful butterflies in my belly). Then Vincent Kompany sliced his clearance and Philippe Coutinho swung his right leg at the ball.

So yes, I am having trouble sleeping.

My time in South Africa is coming to an end. Could it be am suffering because I now associate this place with inspirational good memories? I don’t want to say that am falling in love. I hate the weather that causes temperatures to drop below 10 degrees Celsius in the mornings and evenings. I hate that my wife and my kids, the wonder girls, are not here with me. 

But I love my work mates. I love how a bunch of us goes out to the Great Dane or Kitcheners to drink most days. I love how they never let me win any arguments. I love how they are always asking the question why. I love how cosmopolitan and multicultural the office is. I love that South African women are prudish in public but every bit as Zuma described when he discovered that hot showers could prevent HIV infection. But I wont say am falling in love with Jozy.

I think I am going to need therapy when I return to Kampala.

When Coutinho swung his leg on Sunday and scored, I jumped out of the sofa with a star jump. My legs hit the coffee table so hard that I have been unable to wear shoes since.  As such I was unable to control my landing and ended up slamming my back into the arm of the sofa. As such it hurts when I take a deep breath, laugh or move my back in anyway. Obviously sleeping is uncomfortable…

Hang on...

I am having trouble sleeping…

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Latin Banned!... Rainy season finally here.

Nomvula and I were discussing those 2 newspaper headlines in the title of this blog that are doing the rounds this week. One is on the front page and the other is on the inside pages. Yes I know our country is a poor agricultural country, but please note that those peasants excited about the rainy season do not buy newspapers.

So she asked me; what do you think of this new law that criminalises the speaking of Latin? I told her that I know the old law that made the speaking of foreign languages illegal was already dodgy but this new law was even worse. There are provisions in it that criminalise the promotion of Latin as a language. At one stage it even obliged people to report known Latin speakers or spend 7 years in jail. Thankfully this provision was removed before the president signed the bill into law.

Meanwhile the conduct of the president on this matter has also been suspect. Acting like Pontius Pilate, he declared that he thought this law to be wrong, but was forced into it by the will of the people. To further illustrate his point he spoke, tongue in cheek, about the practice of using the mouth to speak English. “Given all these pleasurable and rich local languages, why should anyone engage in oral English?” So she asked me, “but how do you know that he was speaking tongue in cheek?” And I reminded her that it was her friend the minister that had told us how she regularly used her mouth to speak to the president in English and he seemed to enjoy it very much. Tsk tsk, throttle throttle.

While this whole idea of denying someone their fundamental human rights is at the heart of this fight; some of the Latin speakers have behaved very badly. Many have resorted to calling us locals ignorant because we are not out on the streets fighting this. But the truth is, many of my fellow country men are more bothered about where their next meal is coming from. This government has taken advantage of this apathy and enacted some very regressive laws that severely curtail the rights of citizens as enshrined n the constitution that this same government promulgated. In a way I am not surprised at the foreign Latin speakers. They have no clue of how Latin speakers have survived in this country. It is my contention that most Latin speakers are known within their communities and many of them are well liked. But as is the culture in Uganda, public displays of Language are considered taboo. Many of my Latin speaking friends have not expressed any fear due to the new law and the rest of us now instead are going out of our way to control the facts around these friends of ours. Make no mistake, just because they exist and may be well liked, they are still generally looked at as different. Also, make no mistake that there are several Latin speakers that would like to be able to declare their language preference publicly and at the very least not be sent to jail for it. Many of these people would like society to accept that they like to speak different language.

This particular bill has been largely promoted by local Christian Evangelicals with huge financial support from that country called Sole Super Power. Jesus Christ was a man of peace. He hang out with those that were rejected by society. So I find it ridiculous that the proponents of this law claim to be doing it in his name. I feel for Jesus because he was used to justify slavery, then apartheid and now this. There is one pastor who has been going around showing movies in foreign languages; particularly Latin. He has also described, in graphic detail, how people engage in all types of discourse in Latin. He is actually the local expert on "Fisting". I am sure both these acts violate the new anti-foreign language law. It is interesting to note that some penalties in the anti-foreign  language law are harsher than those in the ant-Latin speaking law.

So what to do about these new laws?

Rather than have their president lecture our president on how to run his country, Sole Super Power should just ensure that the Christian Evangelicals are unable to fund the defense of this law. They could even consider tagging that funding as terrorist funding. This would shut the tap and ensure that our front pages concentrate on activities that feeds our people.

There will, of course, be a the challenge to the law in the constitutional court. But even while that is going on, the Latin speakers could set up a fund to pay the legal fees of anyone charged under this law. They of course have to be careful not to defend those who speak to minors using the Latin language. With the law being so weak and expected to be even harder to effect; am sure every lawyer this fund pays will win every case.