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Rise

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The Resurrection story holds a special place in the heart of Christendom, and in the narrative of humanity. Christ gives u his life for mankind. This is not the first time Christ intercedes for man. At the beginning, when Adam and Eve committed the original sin at the behest of the angel Lucifer, it was Christ who interceded for man before God the Father, entreating him to spare the lives of humanity.

He then takes an earthly form and lives as man, experiencing all of our struggles, pains, fears, dreams, hopes, humiliations and worries. When he is at his weakest, the devil himself assails him and tempts him, offering Christ things which would sway the best of men.

At some point things get so thick for Christ that he begs the Father to change his mind. Faced with the pain, heartbreak, treachery and betrayal that are his lot, he breaks down and weeps, and asks that this cup of suffering be taken from him, that he be spared the trials that await him, for they are too heavy to bear.

Scorned and spat on by the majority, betrayed by a loved one, denied by friends, Christ dies on the cross, murdered by the very people he came to save.

Days later, the women who were his companions go to his tomb. It was these women who had supported and cared for Jesus all along, and it was women who were the first to visit his tomb. The good book tells us that it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, Salome (the other Mary) and a number of women who provided for Jesus and his disciples as they went through the land.

These women wake up early to make a sortie to Christ’s grave. It was dark and cold. The Romans had issued a strict edict prohibiting all visits to Jesus’ tomb. It must have felt especially dark, scary and hopeless, as they had just shortly before watched the death of their friend and Lord. But they still rose and went forth.

Rise, my brothers and sisters. It might be especially dark and cold for you right now. Your dreams and hopes have been killed right before your eyes. Enemies and obstacles surround you, and success seems nigh impossible. Rise, mankind. Go forth to where your dreams and hopes are buried. Roll back the tombstone of your salvation. Expect your reward. Go get your reward. The Lord is risen.

Rise.

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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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Serendipity in Syokimau

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27th of January, 2016

An entry in Mahatma Bangi’s journal:

So today as soon as the wages of last night’s sins seemed to have been sufficiently eviscerated from the temple that is my body, I set about to my usual business. Read a bit, wrote a bit and insulted people on Facebook and Twitter. Halafu I decided to go jogging on these beautiful streets of Syokimau. You know when you indulge in the variety and quantity of mind altering substances that we partake of, fitness is a serious priority. Not because you are afraid that those vices will kill you, but because you want to live as long as possible to enjoy those vices.

So as I was jogging I saw some fat people, also jogging. Now for some reason I find fat people jogging extremely funny. Not funny in an insulting way, but funny in a friendly, hilarious way. I mean, fat people tend to be extremely likable. Now they were jogging slightly faster than a bow legged turtle with marasmus, so it was inevitable that I would pass them. Now I realised that this could be taken as an insult, as in “look at this already fit devastatingly handsome incredibly sexy young man passing us just to rub it in our faces that we are fat and slow”. Fat people have enough problems, and I didn’t want to be seen as an asshole that early in the day. Luckily I spotted a Naivas shopping mall so I stopped and went in, figured might as well get some food. Food doesn’t only belong to fat people.

So as I check in I spot the building has a club called 254 Lounge. Remembered seeing them advertise on Facebook, as well as the fact that a kind soul once told me that the place is normally chock full of beautiful Kamba women. Now my friend if you have never been in the presence of a hot Kamba woman and had her lavish her attentions on you, then you, my friend, have not lived. Tembea Kenya nani. Figured I might as well check it out, and since it was past 5 somewhere on the planet, decided to have a beer.

As I was heading to the lounge I saw a sign for a bookstore so I headed there instead. Approaching the book shop I saw a bank, and decided that I might as well get some pesa, seeing as poor people are most likely getting paid their salaries this week, the ATMs might fail or the bank card networks might go down. And there is a nothing as embarrassing as paying a bill via card halafu that goddamned machine refuses. Especially if you are in the company of a pretty woman.

As I was heading there I smelt food, and the Luhya in me kicked in. As Luhyas we can’t control it; it is wired into our brains, the part that scientists would call the lizard brain. So off to the food court to eat went I, and eat did I. I then saw a perfume and cologne shop and decided that since Valentine’s is coming up, I might as well go and buy a perfume for my next ex.

On the way there I see this apparition. A ravishingly spectacularly singularly beautiful woman. Muslim. I say Muslim cause she was wearing a bui bui or hijab or burqa or whatever and she was pretty. I hear those are the requirements for Muslim. My Christian sistos, I’m sorry but in the looks department waislamus have chapad you guys ten nil. And they cover it all up. And you can still see the beauty. Wewe umebeat lakini ma mini ma hotpants ma boob top ndio zako. Asphyxiating our eyes with cellulite. But I digress.

Now back to this angel. This creature is staring at me, and actually smiling. Mentally I quickly run through all the activities of the past week that had conspired to place me here at this moment in space and time, and threw a silent shout out to Lord Jesus, Thor, Heimdall and Jay Z. She approaches and says hi. I try to use my most unexcited voice as well as my resting bitch face, and fail miserably at both. Awkward silence as she smiles and laughs. Promised myself like 15 years ago not to behave like an idiot in front of a mind blowing amazon, and I am proud to report that I have never been able to keep that promise.

She says she likes my t shirt. I’m wearing my Battousai Sons of Anarchy Nairobi t shirt. Now I don’t normally jog in haute couture, but there were no other clothes available on the couch where I had slept. She says she loves Sons of Anarchy. For the less enlightened among us who might be reading this, Sons of Anarchy is arguably one of the best TV series ever made. Jax is her favourite character on the show, and she thinks I walk like him, so that’s what made her smile and laugh. She says I have made her day. She asks whether she can get one just like it. I answer in the affirmative, and say I will personally see to it that a similarly glorious piece of attire shall be nesting in her lovely arms soon, to be held and admired in a way that she would probably never hold and admire me. She blushes and says I’m funny and asks the price of the shirt. I up the cost by 500 bob. Never mix business and pleasure boys and girls. She accepts and asks me to take her number. My phone is off, thanks to KPLC who can now add the title cockblocker to their name. Na mi sio wale mashoga wa kujaza mfuko na power bank. She saves my number in hers and says she will send a text. She leaves, walks away and leaves my life in pieces, heart racing palms sweating and trembling. Trembling. For the life of me I cannot remember what I’m doing in a shopping mall in Syokimau. I rush home.

Now I’m here praying reciting the Rosary beseeching whatever Gods might be to please please let her send me that text.


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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

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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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An Open Letter to Kenyans: 12 Suggestions on Shit We Should Do or Not Do in 2014

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1. Phone etiquette. This means phone manners. If you call someone and they don’t pick up, don’t call again. They will call you back. If not, get the message. If you feel that they might have not seen your call, text them. If they don’t reply, please don’t text again asking why they haven’t replied. That is a cycle which leads to insanity and psychotic behaviour. Don’t use your phone while:

a. Driving (Can’t believe I have to say this)

b. On a date

c. In a meeting

d. In an interview

e. When you’ve just been introduced to some people who can take your life, career or business further.

2. Courtesy. Simple good manners will go a long way. Fucking saying please and thank you show you are civilised. Fucking not interrupting people when they are speaking shows that you are listening, not just waiting to talk. Giving people way on the road. In Nairobi the women are even worse drivers, cause they go out of their way to prove that they can be just as nasty as the male drivers, or even nastier. Fucking idiocy. Opening doors for women and letting them go in first doesn’t make you a wimp. It makes you chivalrous. If you don’t understand the meaning of that word you shouldn’t be reading this article.

3. Inferiority complex. Bleaching your skin so that you can be lighter. What the shit!!? Affecting a fake accent. Capital Fm I am hereby referring to you. Once heard Waweru Njoroge or somebody saying ‘hakuna matara’. Jesus Christ. What the fuck? Is wrong with you? The only bright side about Capital Fm is Chris Kirubi. If a bumbling fool with an astonishingly low I.Q like him can become a billionaire, then any of us can. (I might get sued for saying that but what the shit) Taking drugs to get a bigger ass. Or bigger boobs. Or a bigger dick. Instead of being such a dick (literally) why not focus on your career or on contributing to society? God made you the way you are for a reason. Dick.

4. Victim mentality. Your relationship breaks down. It’s not your fault. Your job goes south. It’s not your fault. Your friends avoid you. It’s not your fault. You gain weight. It’s not your fault. You get divorced. It’s not your fault. You miss out on a business deal. It’s not your fault. Can you accept responsibility for your life for fucking once? As Joel Osteen put it so well, you are either a Victim or a Victor. As Philip Walubengo put it: If you meet an asshole in the morning, you’ve met an asshole in the morning. If you keep meeting assholes the whole day, you are the asshole. Asshole.

5. Kenyan Media ( And lots of media in general). It may come as a surprise to many that I fully supported and still support the new media bill. Now a law. Reason? Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers. That is what our media is (This aphorism applies to our Parliament as well as to our civil service.) Our newspapers can’t even fucking get their grammar and spelling right. Our media is full of reporters, not journalists. All they care about is sales sales sales money money money fucking profit. Fuck you very much and call you Mary. Always focusing on politics and bad shit. Maina Kageni, Ciku Muiruri and other ill-bred presenters peddle their nincompoopery on air the whole day and the Media Council sits on their hands and twiddles their thumbs up their ass doing nothing about it. And then you claim you can self regulate. Why do we allow vulgar music videos that are basicall sof porn to be played on tv in the middle of the day when even the countries where they come from don’t permit it? And The Nation. What was that picture you put on the front page the day after Westgate? Even a fucktard would not have done that. And since I know you need this to be explained to you:

   Fucktard: A crossbreed between a fucker and a retard, (Source: Go screw yourself)

6. Stupid Decisions and Knee-Jerk Reactions. Let’s form a military unit to take care of Nairobi. What the shit? Are we under martial law and no one told us? Is there a state of emergency? Is the military trained to interact with civilians? Are they trained in urban warfare? Are we at war in our own country? Why the fuck are we re-inventing the wheel? How about we train, house, pay and equip our police better? How about we do the same for the NIS? How about we actually fucking listen when the fucking NIS fucking tells us shit? But on the bright side, all Kenyan women know now that if you just gain some weight, wear long flowing dresses, shut up in your sun glasses when important shit is being discussed, and affect a fake accent, you can be Minister of Defense. Yes You Can.

7. Independent Woman nonesense. I meet women these days who take pride in the fact that they can’t cook. When did lack of a basic survival skill become something to brag about? When fucking when? So you have a car and a house. That makes you special how? I will be the first to admit that women can do what men do and perhaps can do it better. Why? Cause I was raised by and with very strong female role models, who in the 80’s had all this shit that our modern independent bitch, um, er, sorry, woman brags about. And they never bragged about it. In the 80’s. You don’t need alabastron or whatever hog wash that Caroline Mutoko and her ilk peddle. There is the Bible. There are the teachings of our ancestors. The Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai once told me (Yes, I am name dropping like that) that we need not turn east or west to find values; we already have our customs. God bless her soul. The rising cases of single parenthood, young people involved in crime, confused youth, breakdown in society etc. can directly be traced to this nonesense.

8. Read. How about we read some more? Fact: If you can read and you don’t read, there is no difference between you and someone who can’t read. Get it? Unused skills become vestigial. And read useful shit. I know some people who never touch a book in the whole year and then read that 50 Shades of Crap book cover to cover in just a matter of days. I can’t respect that kind of literature. Ernest Hemingway once wrote a six word novel, and it had more depth than all those sex books combined. One article by Philip Ochieng in the Sunday Nation has more value than that whole trilogy. Jesus, one status update by Eric Ng’eno on Facebook has more depth, breadth, wit and social redemptive value than all those 50 Shades of Mummy Porn combined.

9. Tribalism. Dear government, Jobs and appointments are not only for two tribes, i.e Kikuyu and Kalenjin. Did we travel back to the 70s and no one told me? And our guys on social media and the internet at large; this constant beef between Luos and Kikuyus is tiresome. Sawa when you were raised your parents lacking things to say told you that all Luos are evil, arrogant braggarts and that Raila Odinga is the devil reincarnate. Your parents told you that Kikuyus are lying, thieving backstabbers and that the Kenyattas are the spawn of Satan. We don’t give a shit. Take your issues elsewhere. There are 40 other tribes here who, literally, don’t give a shit about your retrogressive, hateful, witless bile. Actually, if you tribalists were hanging on a cliff and always that was needed to save you was just one shit; we wouldn’t give a shit.

10. The prosperity gospel. 11. Living your life purely for money. I have combined these two points because they are interconnected. If your aim in life is purely to make money, then you have such poverty of ambition that I can’t even insult you. I can only feel sorry for you. Money only magnifies who you are. And most of the people on the money path are just raging shitheads. (Look, I managed to insult you!) If a pastor tells me that my Saviour was given up by His Father to get tortured and die in such a painful way so that I can have a swimming pool and a luxury car in my compound, then that pastor is like a toilet. Full of shit. There is a reason why Pope Francis was named the Time Person of The Year. When a child or someone elderly dies due to poverty and it hardly merits a byline in the news, and then when the stock market loses a few points and it merits a headline in the papers, we have lost our way. God help us all. But not if you are self-important raging shithead.

12. Ciku Muiruri. So, to finish up. Ciku. I had only listened to your radio show once or twice, and read your column in the papers once or twice. Not because I have anything against you, but because I don’t believe in imbibing trash. Very early in life i was taught something called GIGO. Garbage In Garbage Out. I like to stand guardian at the door of my brain and prevent you, Nigerian Movies, Soap Operas and Black American Movies from gaining access. Also, a Lion does not concern himself with the opinions of a sheep. But I digress. Apparently you wrote an article proclaiming that Kenyan men are poor and ugly. Okay. Your opinion. Allow me to offer mine.

   I may be broke now, but it is only a matter of time before I’m rich. You will still be ugly. Yes, I have seen your photograph. By extension, you called your father, your boss, your friends, and many other respectable men poor and ugly. See number 4 above whereupon you will find my treatise on assholes. It is quite pertinent to your condition. I would ask you and Maina Kageni to go home, but I still don’t know if the door to the cage was left open. I don’t even know what Child Services in this country does when people like you are actually allowed to raise children. But anyway, even Orangutans are allowed to raise children. You are the embodiment of what is wrong with this country. Gold-diggers who have gone to school but still want to be taken care of and bought for everything by men, their role model is you. Weren’t you spotted and pictured being fondled and carried around by Artur what’s-his-face-with-the-mercenary-moustache? But I guess it’s the money that mattered. And FYI, that guy was as ugly as my dog’s behind. And if my dog hears this it will have mad beef with me.

Ahaaaaa. That feels much better. Happy 2014 everyone. Cheers to a fantastic year.

In attendance of your favorable response,

Yours Faithfully,

Philip ‘Battousai’ Walubengo.

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