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Why are we so drawn to expensive things?

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Why, then, if expensive things cannot bring us remarkable joy, are we so powerfully drawn to them? Because of an error similar to that of the migraine sufferer who drills a hole in the side of his skull: because expensive objects can feel like plausible solutions to needs we don’t understand. Objects mimic in a material dimension what we require in psychological one. We need to re-arrange our minds but are lured towards new shelves. We buy a cashmere cardigan as a substitute for the counsel of friends.

Of course, we are not solely to blame for our confusions. Our weak understanding of our needs is aggravated by what the philosopher Epicurus termed the ‘idle opinions’ of those around us, which do not reflect the natural hierarchy of our needs, emphasizing instead luxury and riches, seldom friendship, freedom and thought. This prevalence of idle opinion is no coincidence. It is in the interests of commercial enterprises to skew the hierarchy of our needs, to promote a material vision of the good and downplay an unsaleable one.

Look at examples all around us, pushed on us by advertisers, businesses and the media. I recently watched an advert on TV where a wife was pressuring her husband, nagging him to build a new gate for their compound and buy a Prado, because their neighbours had done the same. The husband relents and actually takes a loan from the bank to buy these ‘necessities’. (It was a bank loan advert by the way, I think.) At the end we see him happy and gloating at his neighbor, because he has a gate just like his, and a Prado just like his. Samsung and Apple periodically without fail come up with a new phone that is allegedly more advanced and more ‘necessary’ than the last, and of course more expensive than the last. The idea implied is that you have to keep buying these things so as not to be left behind. Companies selling strangely expensive houses tell us about the luxuriousness of their offerings, and how modern they are. Some agents will even go further to let you know that many of the houses on sale have already been bought by UN staff, expatriates and foreigners, just to show you how good and necessary these houses are. Yes, having ‘natives’ as your neighbours is not chic enough, apparently.

Our society has embraced this idea wholeheartedly. Our worship of money seems unparalleled. Our zeal for wealth accumulation is fanatical, and people don’t seem to care how this wealth is accumulated. Morals go out the window real quick, and we forget about issues that matter like genuine friendship, good morals, family, respect, fidelity, loyalty and culture. We live as though money is the most important thing in our lives. Interestingly, most of us who exhibit this absurd lust for wealth are Christians; who believe in and worship a deity who specifically preached and taught against this mindless glorifying of money and material things, and lived his life on earth avoiding the same. But the issue of our embarrassing love for money would need a whole other article – another day perhaps.

It is interesting to note that although Kenyans are ranked as the wealthiest in East Africa, surveys show that we are not the happiest – the Tanzanians or the Rwandese are. We are also not the most generous – that accolade goes to the Ugandans. We are also not the most hopeful or optimistic in the region. So where is the benefit of all this wealth? Anyway, I digress.

Back to the issue of why we are drawn to expensive things. How are we enticed even more to buy these items? Through the sly association of superfluous objects with our other, forgotten needs.

It may be a car we end up buying, but it was freedom and respect we were looking for.

It may be the expensive whisky or cognac we purchase, but it was friendship we were after.

It may be fine bathing accoutrements we acquire, but it was thought that would have brought us calm.

Dear reader, allow me to leave you here. I’ve got to go shopping for some really nice suits I saw the other day. Hehehehe.


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Consolations of Philosophy – Frustration

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Though the terrain of frustration may be vast – from a stubbed toe to an untimely death- at the heart of every frustration lies a basic structure: the collision of a wish with an unyielding reality.

The collisions begin in earliest infancy, with the discovery that the sources of our satisfaction lie beyond our control and that the world does not reliably conform to our desires.

And yet, for a philosopher such as Seneca, in so far as we can ever attain wisdom, it is by learning not to aggravate the world’s obstinacy through our own responses, through spasms of rage, self-pity, anxiety, bitterness, self-righteousness and paranoia.

A single idea recurs throughout his work: that we best endure those frustrations which we have prepared ourselves for and understand, and are hurt most by those we least expected and cannot fathom. Philosophy must reconcile us to the true dimensions of reality, and so spare us, if not frustration itself, then at least its panoply of pernicious accompanying emotions.

Her task is to prepare for our wishes the softest landing possible on the adamantine wall of reality.


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Facebook Rant

Censor content

Ladies and gentlemen. The Battousai has always believed in freedom of thought. Ladies and gentlemen, it follows that he also believes in freedom of speech.

Ladies and gentlemen, it seems, however, that the powers that be at Facebook, a.k.a Mukuru kwa Zuckerberg, do not share this cherished and hallowed belief.

Apparently, you can post pornographic pictures and videos, gory images, glorify violence, incite tribal hatred, statements intended to defraud, pictures of dying children et al. Facebook will not give a flying rat’s ass about all these.

Many a time Facebook has taken down my posts and or images, because they deem them offensive. Ha. Riddle me this: looking at American society, what is it that they find offensive? I mean, they allow a hate filled clown like Trump to not only run for president, but actually become a front runner in the race. They actually give Sarah Palin time on TV. America is an implicitly and explicitly racist society that incarcerates, brutalizes kills people based on the colour of their skin. They export war all over the world. They actually think Obama is a bad President. They allow the Kardashians to exist. They allow Morris Chestnut to act in movies. They label you a terrorist, gangster or militia based on your skin tone. They actually tried to impeach Bill Clinton. They have createda new breed of rappers who dye their hair and wear skinny jeans. What do they find offensive?

The answer to that is: My posts. I made a comment on Shoba Gatimu’s post and they took it down in record time, in addition to placing yours truly in Facebook jail.

Here is the comment, verbatim, made in response to a shallow, misogynistic, sexist, offensive post: “These faggots who keep passing judgement on people should stay home and masturbate into their herbal tea.”

I know people have strong feelings about herbal tea, but I didn’t know it was that serious. Herbal tea tastes like shit. Like faggoty masturbatory shit. Yeah.worst-thing-about-censorship


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Existential Riddles

Existential riddle black woman

A farmer has to transport a fox, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river. She can carry only one item at a time. If left together, the fox will eat the chicken, and the chicken will eat the corn. How does the farmer do it?

The farmer begins by carrying the chicken across the river. But, as she does so, she notices her reflection in the water. She can barely recognize the person staring back at her, holding a chicken. “What’s happened to me?” she asks herself. She hasn’t picked up a paintbrush in more than a year. Now she’s carrying farm animals and sacks of grain across rivers. Is this why she spent two years at RISD?

A man sees a boat that is full of people. And yet there isn’t a single person on the boat. How is this possible?

Everyone on the boat is married, so there isn’t one single person on the boat.

The man wonders if it’s legal for a transportation system to discriminate against unmarried people. It doesn’t seem legal, but maybe maritime laws are different? Perhaps if things had ended differently with Heather, the man would be on the boat, too. He laughs sadly to himself. He was always single, even when he was with Heather. Love is an illusion. There are no purely unselfish actions. Heather and Dale deserve each other.

The man blows his nose. He didn’t even realize he’d been crying.

Which is heavier, a ton of feathers or a ton of gold?

Everything is equal in an infinitely expanding, cruelly indifferent universe.

A town has only two barbers. One of the barbers has a neat, tidy haircut, and the other has a shaggy, messy haircut. Which barber should a townsman go to?

The man should go to the barber with the shaggy, messy haircut.

But he goes to the barber closer to his apartment. It’s been years since the man cared about his appearance. He sits down in the barber’s chair. Long hair, short hair, messy hair—it’s just going to keep receding. He can’t stop it from receding.

“Are you sure you want me to cut your hair?” the barber says, with a wink. “After all, how could I have given myself this neat, tidy haircut?”

“I’m going to die someday,” the man whispers.

A woman lives in a yellow one-story house. Everything in the house is yellow. What color are the stairs?

There are no stairs, because the woman lives in a one-story house. The woman wishes she could afford a two-story house. Or at least one with a furnace and more natural light. But a one-story house makes sense. She lives alone. What does she need all the extra space for? Another cat? A family?

She pulls up a blanket, shivering. The yellow walls are starting to drive her insane.

A man is locked in a room with only a piano. How does he escape?

The man uses a piano “key” to escape. Then he uses religion to escape, then drugs, then a relationship that clearly won’t work out in the long term, then unhealthy food, then rage, then the “key” again, because it’s a cycle, it’s an endless cycle, and he can never truly escape until he accepts that she’s really gone.

A woman running a marathon overtakes the person in second place. What place is she in now?

She is now in second place. She’s always in second place. Stephen was right.

A man turned off the light and went to bed. Because of this, several people died. Why?

The man lives in a lighthouse; when he turned off the light, two ships crashed. For months, the man is wracked with guilt—how could he forget to keep the light on? What was he thinking? Years pass. The man moves to a small inland town. He attends group therapy regularly. At one session, he meets a widow of three years. She is beautiful in a quiet way. They get married. She never questions why he refuses to turn off the lights at night. Days become decades. They don’t have children, but they are happy together. One day, the man visits an antique shop and breaks down sobbing when he sees a ship in a bottle. He asks his wife to drive him to the ocean. She does. She knows not to ask why. They arrive. The man forgives himself. He finally forgives himself.

Existential riddle together

~ Ethan Kuperberg


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The Himura Chronicles: The Nairobi He Knows

The Nairobi He Knows

I read an article a while back by some illustrious and well meaning Kenyan writers. The article was titled ‘The Nairobi I Know’ or something to that effect. I found it quite interesting, though I felt that something more could be added about the Nairobi that many of us have known. So I decided to ask my friend, let’s call him Himura, to write about the Nairobi he knows. He is what would be described as a lifer, someone who has burned the midnight oil at both ends of the candle, so I figured he might have something to say. As expected, he refused. I traced him to his fortress of solitude in the countryside, where he now spends his days engaging in noble pastimes such as playing PlayStation and laughing at society. After days and weeks of bribery, cajoling, insults, begging, flattery, ass kissing, blackmail, and pure nagging, he finally acquiesced. Here is the edited version of what he wrote. (Many sections were left out due the fact that as you know this website only carries PG material, and we abhor vulgar language, drug glorification or anything even mildly sexual. We are staunch Christians, just the way Kenya is a staunch Christian nation which abhors and avoids all kinds of sin. Yes.)

 

Lights, camera… What the hell?

I had lived in Nairobi severally during my childhood, during school holidays mostly. Flashes of Unga House, of Sarit Centre, playing with the elevators in Yaya Centre (and getting promptly kicked out), getting bullied by some cool ‘city boys’ and waiting for them the next day and beating the crap out of them with my pals. That’s just a tiny part of the Nairobi I knew, the Nairobi I know. The Nairobi I want to write about is the one I knew with the eyes of the age of majority, with the eyes of an adult. I’m not sure I qualified as an adult for a very long time, so let’s just say after high school – post 17 years.

The first time I came to Nairobi when I was of age, my brother took me to Florida. The club of course. Also known as F1 or Madhouse, aptly situated on top of a petrol situation, even more aptly situated on K-Street. Little did I know that the most apt thing about it was the nickname, Madhouse. I knew he wanted to show me a good time, but as I grew older I realized that perhaps there was something else he wanted to show me, a lesson he wanted me to see, experience for myself and learn. Thus begins this tale that has been extorted out of me.

The Nairobi I know is walking into Madhouse and experiencing a sensory overload. The music, the perfume, and the sight of the women. Notice I haven’t said women. I said the women. Nothing like I had ever laid my young eyes on. Describing them is pointless, let’s just say that the beauty and variety was like a shocking yet delicious shot of chocolate tequila to a virgin throat. What was even more amazing is that these women seemed to be focused on me. Me. Smiling, waving, calling, uncomfortably long eye contact… I knew I was attractive, but I didn’t think I was that attractive. (Later I would come to be described as devastatingly handsome and incredibly sexy, but I digress). I gravitated to an angel who looked Eritrean or something. She was clad in a sheer purplish burgundy silky dress, I remember. The night flew by. The conversation, the dancing, her beauty, her scintillating scent… I still remember the perfume. It must have been J’adore or Pure Poison. When time came to leave, she told me that it was 3,000 bob. I told her that I had already paid the bill. She laughed and said no, if I was to go with her it would be 3,000 bob. As this slowly sunk in, I could see my brother close by watching us, almost dying with laughter. It hit me then. These were women on the clock, ladies of the night. So much for fantasy. So much for witty conversation and funny jokes. I left, without her of course, feeling a mixture of awe and dejection. Hmmmm.

The Nairobi I know is sneaking onto the roof of the KICC with a girl I had just begun dating, who as fate would have it happened to be part Eritrean. There was a sort of fashion show going on and we had snuck off to view the city from the very top of, well the city. When we were up there, having snuck past various watchmen and workers, the world came to a standstill and for some reason we had our first kiss. There was an army plane flying past and I swear that fella dipped his wing at us. Some romantic shit I tell you.

The Nairobi I know is walking into my first job and getting asked, alongside all the other interns, to take out terms of reference and make changes as we saw fit. Everyone adjusted the duties they could do, responsibilities they should have and what not. I only changed one term. I doubled my salary. The boss glanced through all of our contracts and signed them without a word. Thus I became the most ballingest intern. If that’s a word.

The Nairobi I know is doing volunteer work in the slums at Mukuru Kwa Ruben. Seeing the joy, optimism and hope of the young people who lived there under nightmarish conditions. Teaching them on the side about theatre, drama, plays, writing and producing a play in which they all acted. When they won at a youth festival – I will never forget the sense of pride and accomplishment it gave them, things I took for granted. The Nairobi I know is one of my workmates getting shot in those same slums, and the helplessness I felt cause I had no idea what to do about a bullet wound and I did not want to see someone die, especially not someone I knew. He survived, and went back to work in those same slums. I did not go back.

The Nairobi I know is holding PlayStation tournaments in the hood, playing FIFA and Mortal Kombat. Seeing how boys will always be boys, and how men can get crazily competitive over a video game. Throwing impromptu parties and making punch that would intoxicate you just by its smell.

The Nairobi I know is discovering roast chicken at Jeans in Nairobi West. I swear the first time we went there I ate a whole chicken washed down with a litre or two of Tusker. And then discovering an alley just between West and South C that I swear has the best mutura in this whole country. Also discovering that apart from wrapping meat, newspapers can also be used as serviettes.

The Nairobi I know is walking into campus as a freshman and discovering infatuation. Falling for an older girl and discovering rejection. Cold stone hard rejection that you can do nothing about. Finding out that where there’s a reason, a man’s tears will come. They will come my friend, they will come. Learning what it means to be heartsick, learning what it means to be obsessed. Thank you very much, but I ain’t never going back to that. If I can help it.

A wise man once said that there is a time and place for everything. It is called campus. Eating the most wonderful ugali and meat at Fig Tree market in Ngara. Drinking amazing keg in Ngara. (I guess after the first jug, keg is always amazing) Drinking keg at K1 on the regular mpaka they had tall boys reserved just for us. Stealing tall boys, jugs, ash trays, beer mugs and all sorts of paraphernalia from nightclubs all over the city to adorn our rooms with. Heck, one of my peeps even once stole a whole goat leg from the local. Hehehehehe. Going for BOGOF at K2 (That is Buy One Get One Free, for you unfortunate souls who never lived in such glorious times). Running riot all over Westlands. Leaving Electric Avenue and wondering why the street lights are so bright, kumbe it is morning and those street lights are the Sun. I once ate ten of those eggs they sell on the street with kachumbari. We had a C.A.T coming up the day after, so I spent a whole day on the toilet studying. Insulting the police right at the police station, then running from the same police. Over and over.

The Nairobi I know is hanging out the car window while racing down Uhuru Highway, one hand holding on for dear life and the other one holding a bottle of vodka on the tarmac to see if it might produce sparks, screaming all the while. Discovering that if you shake a bottle of beer, it sprays just like soda. Making this discovery in Carnivore and proceeding to spray my boy with a bottle of Pilsner. The only problem was that in our excitement over this world changing discovery we also ended up spraying four other tables with beer. Tables that happened to be full of people, people whom we didn’t know. Oh well. Deciding on a whim to hop on a bus in the middle of the night and hit Mombasa before common sense gets the better of you.

Getting stoned in Parkie, getting stoned in Westie. Getting stoned in Emba, getting stoned in South C. Getting stoned in Karen, getting stoned in Lang’ata then when the munchies hit making our way across Langata road to get to Uchumi just to have that power sandwich. When I heard that Uchumi was collapsing, my first thought was about how great a shame it would be if we lost the power sandwich forever. Nightmares are made of less scary thoughts. Getting stoned in the loos at the cinema and then watching a movie in real, I mean real, 3D. Hehehehehe. Almost trying cocaine, but after seeing the high it gave to some pals who had done a line or two, decided to give it a pass. Plus those niggas danced for like 12 hours straight and kept talking the whole damn time. No thank you.

Making my first fortune. The most money I had ever made in my life. And then blowing it all. And then, as if once was not enough, doing it all over again. No regrets though, it taught me things that cannot be taught. You feel me?

My phone getting grabbed out of my pocket in the middle of the night at Odeon. Me chasing the thief all the way down the street, then realizing that the guys who were running next to me were not there as good Samaritans. Promptly turning back and discovering that my money was gone as well. Kind stranger paid my fare, and even after I scribbled his number somewhere and called him to thank him, pay him back, lunch, whatever politely declined my offer and said that one day I would do the same for him or another.

The Nairobi I know is me and my boy, during the water crisis, on the daily going to almost every five star hotel in the city just to take a crap. We’d walk in in our suits looking dead serious, acting as though we knew where we were going to and head straight for the loo to drop a deuce, do the deed, number 2 my friend. Believe that.

Checking into Mwenda’s and testing almost every cocktail. And yes I mean testing. Slippery Nipples and Dark Fucks, and the Flaming Lamborghini. Before you cringe, those are names of cocktails. Getting into fights all over. Fights for honour, fights for justice, fights for pride, for ego, for foolishness, for family, for friends. Realising eventually, that pwagu hupata pwaguzi – one day you will mess with the wrong people and get your ass handed to you in an epic unforgettable beatdown.

During the post-election violence, shacking up at my boy’s place – stranded in Nairobi. I think we spent two weeks in the bar. I tried to learn how to chew miraa but it was too much work. Managed much later on with muguka. Hehehehe. Interesting high.

The first time I heard Obama speak was when he came to The University as a Senator. Notice I said The University, so there is no need to ask which one. That is the first time I realized that a special one walks among us. I remember sitting in Q’s on the night of the American election, and seeing grown men cry when it was announced that Obama had won. What it meant for black people, and for Africans, and for Kenyans, was so so fucking much. We will never forget. Glad to have been alive during such times.

Making a foray into elective politics. Time of our lives. Thrilling, exciting, educative, but dangerous. After all this is still Kenya. Getting threatened, more fights, thugs, getting arrested countless times, becoming familiar with various police stations and cells. Oh well. No regrets.

Breaking hearts and having your heart broken. It is even worse when you thought, nay you knew, that you were past the point where your heart could ever be broken. The pain that hurls itself through your body, when you bring tears to the eyes of the one you love and you know deep down that you will continue to hurt her. When you look for a reason to break up because part of you is terrified that this woman will actually complete you, that this woman can be the one, that this woman is… everything. The pain that gnaws at your soul when you know that you shouldn’t have left, you shouldn’t have walked away, you shouldn’t have looked at someone else. The hopelessness that wracks you, along with the occasional sob, when you realize that you cannot change the past, and that in breaking someone, you broke yourself. And what if, the reason that you broke them, is because you are already broken yourself, in ways that you know not?

A friend once told me, over a quiet drink at The Porterhouse, that you’ve never really lived if you’ve never lost your mind. I thought about it and realized there is truth in that statement. But only the brave. Or those who cannot help it. I could write a whole other article about that, but that is another story. That is the Nairobi I know.

The Nairobi I know is maddening, silly, stupid traffic jams. Crime and police harassment. A place where most people are only out to get theirs, are all about money, and actually think that that is a higher form of living. Poverty of ambition masquerading as real ambition. The ugly side of capitalism embraced, flossing, flaunting, lies, ego, treachery, betrayal, pride, hubris, you name it.

The Nairobi I know is good people, who despite all this, still care about the bigger things and work toward them. It is good cheer, laughter, wonder, and something new to be discovered every day. It is hope, it is dreams, it is love. It is family, it is friends. It is memories we’ll never forget, and people who made us.It is the arboretum. It is Eastlands, Buru, South C, B… (I remember someone asking where South A is) It’s the country clubs and the brothels.It is that wonderful chicken, fries, and kachumbari at Sonford. It’s that mutura. It’s that kienyeji chicken made by that Luhya lady just behind the stage at West. It’s McFries. It’s Kenchic. It’s Meditarreneo, The Stanley, Diamond Plaza all those places. You name them, you know what I mean. You know what I’m trying to say. It is how those women and girls dress, always a sight to behold. It is those men with hope in their eyes and a dream in their hearts, and not too shabby too. It is that government official, that police man, who decided to do right. It is many things. Far from perfect, but it is what it is.

I could go on writing but I’m tired, plus there is too much to say. Cheers, another time perhaps.

The Himura Chronicles will someday be a book. Or a graphic novel.

The Night Nairobi He knows


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The Rise of the Feminazi

Feminazi

It is not hard to tell who she is. Or where she is. She will grasp at any chance to prove or preach her point. Her point is always the same. She has seen the enemy, and she knows the solution. Nothing can change her mind, and on this issue she is always right. If you disagree with her you are a caveman, insensitive, chauvinist, backward, misogynist, and all the other glowing flattering adjectives used to describe a thinking man these days. Woe unto you if she is even slightly successful at her career; she will take this as irrevocable proof of the fact that the Light of the Lord Himself has landed upon her.

The rise of the feminazi is something I have been watching for a while with mild amusement. They seem to be everywhere these days. I hear people ask what a feminazi is. I became familiar with the term not so long ago, and perhaps it stuck because it seemed so fitting. Feminazi is a term used pejoratively to describe either feminists who are perceived as extreme or radical; women who are perceived to seek superiority over men, rather than equality. There’s a difference between a feminazi and a feminist. Though I also have a problem with the whole feminism idea, it is better than feminazism.

For the sake of simplicity, a feminist is someone who supports women’s’ rights. Simple as that. And that’s cool. Basically, equality for the sexes. The feminazi, on the other hand, believes that men are the enemy, and they must be defeated at all cost. She is a fringe extremist who unfortunately receives a lot of undeserved attention, and thus becomes the horrific, screeching spokesperson for an actually intelligent social cause. She turns people off from the noble cause of feminism, because people start to think that all feminists are like her. She believes that men are the cause of all women’s problems, and the only way to solve this it to be ‘better’ than men at what they do or at who they are (because: ‘whatever a man can do, a woman can do… shallap’). She will lecture you on issues such as ‘slut shaming’, which believe it or not, is actually a thing. Personally I believe that if you are a slut that’s your business, and if you are not ashamed of it more power to you. But if other people tend to have a low opinion of sluts and go ahead to express it, hey, it’s a free world. She believes that women should be able to drink as much and sleep around as much as men. She doesn’t know that being a man is not about sleeping around or how much liquor you can hold. Tsk tsk.

She is normally quite bitter, though she will try to hide it – striving to prove to the world what a strong independent woman she is. (Oh Destiny’s Child, if thou knewest what grief your song would bring upon humanity, thou would have left it be). She will be ready to fight for whatever reason, not physically of course. Okay sometimes physically. She will grasp at non-issues to make a point out of – have you seen people on social media who get angry at anything and everything? A little joke or issue becomes about humanity, respect, sexism, tribalism, rape culture, etc. etc. Oh Lordy. Do you remember the Mollis audio clip issue? Firstly, shout out to the men who came out screaming that it must have been rape simply because they wanted to gain marks in the eyes of females. The feminazis had a field day on that one. Saddeningly I also saw lawyers, both male and female, shouting about how it must have been rape. Yet even a two bit lawyer will tell you in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, theorizing before the facts is a capital offence.

I didn’t plan to write on the issue of rape and dressing and what not but I might as well get it out of the way. There is no need to say obvious things, but I will say them anyway. Women have a right to dress however they want. Period. Stripping women or brutalizing them is unacceptable and criminal. Period. Men also get raped, and you never hear that it was because of what they were wearing. Okay. On the other hand, as a woman, getting drunk and blacking out amongst strangers is not a good idea. Logic is your friend. Use it. Dressing skimpily and walking in some parts of Nairobi is not a good idea. Listen, let’s be realists. There are rights, and there are odds. Even as men there are some places in this country we will not walk in as the chances of getting mugged are almost 99%. We have the right to walk there but the odds are that it won’t end well. You have the right to travel to Northern Iraq, but the odds are you’ll either end up being a slave for ISIS, or you will end up with an American missile embedded in your diab. You should be able to go to Iraq; in a perfect world you would be able to go to Iraq. But the world ain’t perfect babe, and the same applies here. And not all men are created equal, not all believe in the rights of women, not all are even familiar with them. It reminds me of the story of a bunch of tourists in a game park somewhere in Kenya who were being chased by lions and they decided to climb a tree to escape them. The lions also climbed the tree and dragged off all the tourists but one. When the survivor told the park ranger that he had read a book which said that lions don’t climb trees, the ranger simply told him “The lions didn’t read that book.” You get the point.

Like millions of other people I simply adore Obama. Though I feel he was misadvised when he read us the riot act on gender equality. Of course he was absolutely on the money when he said that not allowing half the team to play is stupid. Truth of the matter is, the progress made by women and women’s rights in Kenya so far is impressive. At last check, there were more girls than boys in schools in Kenya at all levels. (Except JKUAT. Nothing really applies to JKUAT – also known as Juja Boys High School). From my personal experience, I see more women than men my age in employment, and ever since I became of working age every single organisation I have worked for except one, has had more women than men working in it. And the one that didn’t, didn’t for good reasons. It is obvious there is still progress to be made, but let us also appreciate our achievements. And let’s not rush to adopt foreign systems of living, of democracy, or what not. Like other older societies, ours will grow and develop in its own unique way. In other news if the Rwandese want Paul Kagame to go for another term, who are you to say no?

The issue of having a third of the seats in the national assembly reserved for women, if you ask me, is rather silly, and totally unsustainable. Perhaps the future might prove me wrong. I can understand it being included in our constitution due to the rush to pass that document. Look at our so called women reps in Parliament. What have they done for women so far? Unfortunately when one thinks of women reps the pitiful yet hilarious image of Rachel Shebesh comes to mind, and all she seems to have achieved so far is a Gubernatorial slap, followed by a Senatorial roll in the hay, punctuated by a Senatorial slap. Three cheers for women.

Logic would tell us that we should also focus on the boy child, and perhaps focus more. It is men who are more likely to engage in drugs and crime. It is men who are more likely to influence other men and women to engage in drugs and crime. It is men who are more likely to kill themselves. It is men, more than women, who need to be raised to believe that rape is unacceptable and violence is not a solution. But look at our double standards. When you hear about a woman, most likely a spouse, meting out violence on a man, you will always hear people, women mostly, saying that somehow the victim must have deserved it. Yes that he deserved to have his dick cut off. When a man brutalizes a woman, the outcry can be heard from here to the Congo. Double standards much? Anyway, you get the point.

Now sadly, due to the feminazi and misplaced feminism, and also misdirected goodwill, we are breeding men who feel angry, ignored and emasculated, men who don’t see the reason in being men anymore. Men who believe that being a man is all about having more (money) than the next guy, so that they can get whatever they want from whomever, as society has taught them that that is all that matters. We have raised and are raising a generation of women who always spout phrases like ‘I deserve better’ or ‘I’m entitled to’… Women who forget what life really is about and instead are engaged in endless competition, women who believe that men are their eternal enemies, women who want to be like men yet they can’t, and who don’t know how to be women.

Whoever put us on this planet put us here together, men and women, for a reason. We’ve gotta work it out. We are not each other’s enemies.

In the words of the poet: where is the love?


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Why Don’t You? Why Do You?

Early evening. You are seated by the counter in a smoky bar somewhere in the city. Just about to kick back and sign off for the day. Exchanging pleasantries with the barman and engaging in small talk here and there. Farther along the counter there is a rather attractive young woman ordering a drink. By her style of dress you figure she’s either a lawyer or works in an audit firm, probably one of the Big Four. Same difference, except that the lawyer will most likely have an air of self-importance, dozens of points to prove, a chip on her shoulder and misplaced feminism to boot. Okay so it’s not the same difference. After a while you notice she’s casting furtive glances your way every so often. When someone walks in and greets you by name, you can see her pretty little ears perk up a little, and the glances increase. In between questions posed to the barman, she finally gathers the courage to speak to you. A year or so back you’d have been the first one to talk to her but now, well, now is now.

She speaks: “Hi. You’re so and so?”

You: “Ummm, errr… Why do you ask?” (You learnt the hard way, the very hard way, long ago, never to answer that question in a hurry. It has too many possibilities behind it, many of which are not pleasant.)

After pushing and pulling for a while, and after judging the situation reasonably safe to continue, you finally admit that you are who she thinks you are. She goes on to gush about your writing, how she follows your blog religiously. Due to the reputation that Kenyan bloggers have achieved of late, you wince at the mention of the word blog – you hate the term blogger. She continues to say things about you and your writing – since people assume they can tell the type of person you are through your writing- saying how she thinks you are intelligent, crazy, humorous, arrogant, chauvinistic, confused, you have a mean streak, but she likes it, thinks you curse too much but it’s okay, she’d like to pick your brain, perhaps, you should write more about this and that… And then the question: “Why don’t you write anymore?”

Hmmmm.

A slightly cold night in the countryside. It’s heading towards midnight and you’re heading towards town to pick up a friend who has arrived late. A roadblock in the distance, the ones mounted with lanterns by the side, and manned by eager young policemen. They flag you down, and you quickly think of ignoring them and speeding past or acknowledging them and still speeding past. You doubt that they have a chase car somewhere waiting to chase after you movie style. Anyway, you slow down to a stop and roll down your window. One policeman walks over to your window, flashlight in hand.

“Habari mkubwa!”

“Mzuri sana baba”

“Naezaangalia gari ndani?”

You allow him to check the car because you have nothing to hide. Plus this is the country side; people tend to be courteous to each other including the police. While he is checking you remember the bottle of whisky on the passenger seat, and the glass, with whisky, in the cup holder next to you. Both you and the police officer notice these things at the same time.

“Unajienjioy, eh?”

“Sio sana afisa. Pole pole tu.”

“Unakunywa ukiendesha?”

“Hapana afande. Hiyo ilikuwa ya rafiki yangu ameisahau hapo.”

He smiles, laughs, and keeps looking at you. After a while it looks like he’s trying to remember you. You’re doing your best not to be remembered. He asks for your license. You hand it to him, and his eyes light up like a little boy.

“Ni wewe? Yaani it is you? Nikuulize, unaandikanga mambo kwa mtandao? Yaani internet? Hii jina na sura ninazijua. Walubengo Den?”

You ashamedly admit that it might be the truth. He goes on to tell you how he follows your blog religiously, and that he is actually currently studying at some college close by, and his lecturer directed all of the students to read your blog to gain some knowledge and improve their language. (You almost burst out laughing at this. Poor students. Poor lecturer.) After getting over his initial excitement the young police officer’s face turns a bit solemn and he asks you: Why don’t you write anymore?

Hmmmm.

You leave the earnest policeman with a glass of liquor to keep him warm, and you head off into the night. Thinking. Why don’t you write anymore? Why don’t you write?

Perhaps in the words below we will attempt, or endeavor to extricate ourselves from this morass. Perchance I will favour the well trained lawyer’s style of writing; Brief, concise, precise, and accurate. Or perhaps I will favour the grandiloquent style of some law professors and speechwriters. Maybe both. Then again, may be none. The author’s style: describing sunsets and sunrises and moons and oceans and landscapes in magnificent, almost numbing words punctuated by suffocating similes and a myriad of metaphors. No. Perhaps I should just say shag it and have a ghostwriter write out all this shit. But I’m not a rapper. I think I’ll just bumble along and wing it.

In bars. Restaurants. On the street. On the highway. In the club. Even at work and at home. The world seems to be teeming with people keening to know why you don’t write anymore. Surprisingly, people will read what you write sometimes, and if you are vain enough to include a picture or two of yourself in your articles they will know what you look like. Also, if you have a ‘common’ face (polite way of saying ‘watchman’s face), many people will think they have seen or met you before. Anyway.

Methinks the more important question is: “Why do you write? Why should you write?”

I’ve asked this question to many others, seeking to find out why they write, seeking to know what drives them. Some say it’s money that drives them, others say it’s passion. Some say that writing is a need, it is something you inexplicably need to do. Others of course write for vanity, or for fame or notoriety. Others write to stir unnecessary controversy or to spread hate steeped in mutated feminism like that girl/female/woman (what is the politically correct term?) who was insulting Subarus the other day, specifically Subarus of a blue hue. I never liked Subarus much in the first place, but now I do. I tend to gravitate towards the things which stupid people don’t like. Oh well, to each his own and we haven’t paraded ourselves here to judge.

I still remember someone telling me that I should write because I feel good while writing. But the end results are the words, the sentences, and they will be read by people. So making myself feel good then sharing the results with the reading public. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds an awful lot like masturbating in public. Some say you can only write and write well when you are sad, or when there is a great cause that one is writing for. I don’t know. Some draw motivation from the bottle and perhaps a pack of cigarettes – Keeps them writing.

Some write to make their voice heard. Some write to make the voices in their head go quiet.

Why do you write? Why should you write? Me I don’t know.
If there’s anyone out there who has an answer to these questions, or ideas, kindly share. They might just help to spark a light.