Wednesday, September 30, 2009

CELEBRITY HOGWASH.

Lately the media has bonked us with images of some noisemaking hobos whose noise the media is promoting as music. I know that many Kenyan youths adore these guys and are even carrying their underwear to have them autographed by these feel-gooders. I have nothing against the so called celebrities except that my dictionary has a different definition for the word.
And so every time I buy a newspaper, and God forbid a magazine, I have all these little smiley faces on the photographs. Celebrity delivers bouncing baby, celebrity’s mobile phone stolen, celebrity visits restaurant and this is news. That we can call a radio presenter a celebrity should drive celebrities (including the radio presenters themselves to massive protests).
I know some of you are getting pissed off at this point because I am touching some raw nerves here. Hey, get ready for this; who cares? Just so you understand, I would like to give a definition of a celebrity. A celebrity is a person who has risen through the eyes of the public to such levels that they no longer talk about the person. They only talk about their goldfish and cats. Talking about them and their incredible achievements is like tilling a 10 hectare land with a fork. The only stuff their spokesmen give you are such important details in the lives of the celebrities’ pets such as appointments with vet doctors, pet doves getting depressed or even their little furry puppies attending ballet classes.
Reading our celebrity columns I would say is pure humour. Achievement – Released a single (What?) Which turns out to be a sentence repeated like a jillion times. The videos make you wish that Fadhili Williams (God bless his soul) would just rise from his grave with a slasher and literally chop off the celebrities’ heads and go back to RIP.
Then you are bombarded with comical talent shows where comical judges involve comical youths and walaah! You have all these comical awards with comical winners who also shoot a notch higher on the celebrity ladder solely by acclamation by homework-avoiding school kids.
We the non-celebrity masses are to blame for this celebrity situation. I had a very embarrassing encounter with one of these nutter fans one afternoon when having lunch (read chips) with my editor. Just after placing my order (thank God), this young lady came upto me and called me by one of those celebrity names. (I later discovered that I am a celebrity look alike) hahaha. The young lady, after giving me a new name, went ahead to request for an autograph. Before I could even explain that she was mistaken, she had bared her b*ms, and exposed this snow white inner garment.
When you find yourself in such a situation, your mind has to act very fast to get out of a very embarrassing situation. I grabbed my fork and autographed her by pushing it as far as it could go. I later shot out of the restaurant and as they say, the rest is history. To this day my editor believes he went out for lunch with the celebrity I look like. He can’t believe that I am capable of forking someone on the hindquarters. In the meantime, I understand that my celebrity look-alike is in hiding since the police are hot on her heels for injuring a fan. My editor too. I wish her good luck.
What I really think is completely bonkers about this celebrity thing is that they (the celebrities) are the ones always giving celebrity awards to themselves. So they advertise in the newspapers that they will be meeting in a certain place for a show and they start by singing their singles, while the organizers, who happen to be FM radio presenters award the singles’ awards. Then come the FM radio presenters’ awards and the singles producers present them with awards. This goes on through out the year with more awards being presented and more celebrities being made.
I should mention that the singles celebrities later evolve into FM radio presenters. Reliable sources say that FM presenters go on to jamming university corridors as MBAs. Can’t get university admission? – Produce a single; evolve into an FM radio presenter and hooray you end up as an MBA and later on to a Corporate CEO. God help the Kenyan corporate world!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A ROOMMATE I LOVE TO HATE

I HAVE THIS LITTLE WHITE FURRY KITTEN named Jerry that likes to think that we belong to the same species but different generations. I guess it is because she thinks that fur falls off with age. Sometimes I am also tempted to think the same except that in the
kidney of my memory is an eternally etched Darwin ’s theory. The theory suggests that the closest furred relatives I could have are the little thieving monkeys at the gate of Lake Nakuru National Park whose males’ leisure time is spent painting a certain part of their
anatomy blue. (Please do yourself a favour this weekend and visit our distant cousins in the name of domestic tourism. Be sure to close your car windows because these cousins cannot keep their little dirty fingers off your stuff).

From the way she looks at me, I know she wouldn’t like to go beyond a certain age where she might start to resemble me. I have come to this conclusion because every minute she is awake; she spends it grooming her fur. She starts with her paws, which she later uses on her face and then the rest of her body. Very special attention is given to the tail and whiskers.

Recently, I thought of helping her groom herself even better by being able to see the results of her grooming, especially the face. I did so by buying her a mirror and placing it on her favourite sofa. I wanted to surprise her, so I placed the mirror on the sofa when she was sleeping.

When she woke up and saw the other kitten on the mirror, she started attacking by clawing at the image with the result of her claws hurting. The thing that drives her completely berserk is that when she peers behind the mirror, she sees nothing and goes back to clawing the mirror. I have decided to leave the mirror in its position until she understands reflection. This could teach her that though we’ve been flocking together, we are not of the same feather.

Even though she is taking too long to understand reflection, she is still my best companion. First, she doesn’t interrupt me when I am watching my favourite soap opera and second, she doesn’t ask questions. But she recently earned me a permanent enemy in a certain lady friend of mine. I had invited my friend with her boyfriend for dinner. (I invite different people to convince my self that I still got some culinary art in my system). It hadn’t been my intention to invite both of them but my friend is the kind who, when you are her boyfriend, you separate only when you are going to work.

They arrived on time and we were having a swell time with a delicious meal when Jerry, feeling left out, thought it was time for some mischief. Being acquainted with my friend, she climbed onto the sofa and wanting to surprise her, (if that is what they call it in cat language) she jumped onto her head. Before she could even hold it, Jerry was sliding with her wig down her back and bang on to the sofa. As if that was not enough, she playfully dragged her ‘catch’ under the seats. As most of you have guessed by now, my friend was not wearing a wig over relaxed hair. She dashed out of the house leaving behind an amused boyfriend. I understand she has moved house and changed her cell phone number!

I am still wondering what to do with Jerry. She doesn’t seem to understand that she should at least retrieve the wig from under the seats. Since there are a few days to the weekend, the wig can be gathering dust. In the meantime, I am looking for a person who can tell Jerry (who happens to be acting as though nothing happened) in a language that she understands that I am aggrieved by her actions. Anyone there?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

GOLDEN HEROINE

I have tried to ignore the on-going raging Semenya debate for a time now, but since it is not going away, I might as well throw in my siasa ya pesa nane (two cents worth) opinion. I have a three-pronged approach to the issue- a medico-layperson prong, a Kenyan prong and a female prong.
I'll start with a story I read in a magazine that today's doctors have so advanced that they are now able to carry out whole human body transplants. Caution:We should be very careful about this one because they will start zapping people off the streets and presenting them to their relatives as the new human transplants!
The story continued with the interview of one doctor who had carried out a human head transplant and, (the author noted) that the patient did actually live for 8 hrs with a new head or body - I am not sure who had died; the owner of the head or the body. Apart form my initial amusement and going back to the front cover of the magazine to ascertain that it was not an April fool's day joke, I think the article made hilarious reading.
I am not sure I would personally have a head transplant because that would mean that another person's brain would be operating my body (probably a sumo wrestler's) and then 'I' would think that I can wrestle guys and before I know it I would be in a real sumo wrestling ring, beaten into a tomato paste look alike. Fortunately, it wouldn't even happen because the longest a person with a head transplant lived 8hrs, according to the magazine.
The reason I am bickering about this advanced technology is not so much the transplants but that the people (doctors) who claim that they can carry out these amazing medical stunts cant tell what sex Sem is. Back in the good old days, determining the sex of a person was an eye job. There were no blood tests, no urine tests, no medical jargon, nothing. So I advise doctors to go back to the traditional way to determine Sem's sex.
The other prong is the Kenyan prong. Here we are, Kenyans, having lost the women's 800m gold controversially, and unlike the SAs who, led by their president, have come out strongly to defend their golden heroine, we left our 'Eldoret Express's' fate to medical doctors. I believe the gold belonged to us because even the little celebration dance Sem performed looked like Usain Bolt's, only with Sem's head transplanted on his body.
The last and most controversial prong is the women's one where I have only one question. How come no one raises the gender issue when men are lapped 8 to 10 times by Kenenisa Bekele? How come no one hunts them down for blood and urine tests to test whether they are male or female? These guys are allowed to slug-on on the track, even if they have to do the 10,000m until the following day.



So lets leave Sem to enjoy her new career and status because as we have observed, when it comes to gold, we can't trust nobody. I cant even trust myself!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A THOUSAND WORDS

The current water situation has deteriorated so much that it has caused some of us to be brain damaged. I am talking about the last time we were queueing for water the whole night and, there we were, several women who have respectable careers as we prattled on through the night and I am even ashamed to write about what we were talking about. Yes, ashamed! We were talking about two housegirls who had left their employers, who were now fetching water with us.
You would have thought that we would have the presence of mind to talk about say, the 'unlawful' re-appointment of Justice Ringera or the 'Shut up' bluff by Hon. Mutula Kilonzo or the Mau forest which was the reason we were out in the cold in the first place. But No. We were seated on jerrycans all night long talking about some two girls who had decided that they were not going to carry another jerrycan of water up the damn stairs again!

So woman No. 1 said: I heard them planning to leave. It was all planned on the balcony.

Employers (in unison and totally surprised at this revealing tidbit of information they had just recieved): And you didn't tell us?

Woman No. 2: Infact, they used to host some eerie looking men in your houses, while your children picked and ate whatever food particles they found on the verandahs.

Employers: Haki and you didn't tell us?

Woman No. 1 We have a 'mind your own business' policy in this plot.

One of us would leave with her filled jerrycan to empty it into her Ndakaini and come back with another tidbit of information that her mind had just unearthed from her memory. This new piece of information would spark off the memory of another woman and another round of prattle centered on the two girls now turned fiends, would start all over again and that is how we managed to sit all night long with each one of us carrying an approximate 500 litres of water up several flights of stairs.

We also have this neighbour who it helps to mention that he belongs to the Akorino sect who came to fetch the precious commodity. But even he has suffered some brain damage from the current water situation because (get ready) he came out to fetch his water in his turban, red T-shirt and checked boxer shorts. And I am not talking about the Akorino who wear funny yellow, purple or red gowns with stuffed headgears. I am talking about the suit wearing crowd, the ones who even if you pass them in the streets you don't notice them because they easily blend with the metallic electricity posts.

But you couldn't ignore my neighbour and therefore my enterpreneural mind clicked into gear, remembering the old adage that a 'picture is worth a thousand words'. I was thinking of reaching for my mobile phone and take a photograph of the poor guy and sell it to international media. Donors, on seeing the picture of the hapless guy would come with money in sacks to help us dig boreholes in every available open space! My mind then was working like a computer because I even thought of having a career change and heading straight to the mountains of Afghanistan to hunt down Osama bin Laden and take his photograph as he emerges from his tent or cave or hole or whatever other structure he calls home. Wouldn't it be fascinating, (not to mention that I would be the richest woman in the continent) to take a snap of of Osama in his characteristic turban and boxer shorts? I am getting ahead of myself but can you believe all this plan to get very wealthy was going on as my neighbour kept asking for his jerrycan because they all look alike and I happened to be the one at the controls of the tap?

So the government needs to do something about the current water situation so that we can go back to talking about the politics of telling off nosy ambassadors!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

AM I HAPPY?

The way I ended up writing about elephants and wildlife in general was out of a computer error (which in wildlife is referred to as random sampling). I wanted to be a computer scientist. Everyone wanted to be a computer scientist in our days. In those days, computers had just been introduced in the country and they elicited a lot of feeling. We were told that they (computers) could do everything. That people would be without jobs because the computers would do all the work and only those who studied computer would have jobs.

We were also told that they made everything easy and that by the turn of the millennium they would be pulling shocking stunts like telling you only what you wanted to hear (because you told them what to say in the first place) and driving the kids to school. I fell for this lie easily because I like everything made easy. I actually have a library of the ‘made easy’ series that was popular in our days.

Unfortunately this computer science craze coincided with the introduction of the 8-4-4 system. In this system, the educationists in our country decided that we could do all things (just like the computer). So they would meet in these hotels and ask each other, ‘What do we need to add to the curriculum?’ and they would say building and construction and homemaking and pottery and business studies and art and craft and we ended up doing so many subjects. We were used as the system’s test tube babies. I remember they made us build a traditional mud hut!

So with the computer error, I landed in a wildlife class. We were not given time to brood over where we had landed. We were loaded into the college bus and headed for Naivasha.

On this first field trip, we were asked to count wild animals on some private land owners. No sooner had we arrived at the farms than we were loaded into these KWS lorries and given some counters. We were supposed to press the counter every time we saw wildlife. The result was 37 buffalos. I felt like a class 2 kid in a game of numbers.

When the lecturers came, they asked us what the result was and they had these papers with tables and graphs. They wanted us to fill the number of animals in the sheets. They had listed all these animals that were very weird for a person who had hoped to be a computer geek - dik diks, antelopes, gazelles, tortoises (how do you sport a tortoise from a lorry that is cruising at speeds of 100km/h. To us, wildlife was the Big 5. Period. We did not spot them.

The following morning we were loaded again into the lorries and spent the day scurrying after squirrels, hares and lizards!

We ended up with a ridiculous award ceremony where the land owners were awarded for hosting the wildlife. The animals were the original owners of the land and now people were being awarded for hosting them? I knew I had landed into a jungle whose laws I did not understand.

The end of it all is that I spent the next 4 years cruising Kenyan roads. We spent 5% of the time in class, 10% in the National parks and the other 85% on the road and private ranches carrying out unproductive wildlife censuses.

Then at graduation, in the graduands booklet, I was listed under the computer science class with a First class honors degree. Except that there is no proof to this day, I think I had an alter ego.

I went out of my way to correct the error and the computer science certificate was shredded in the company of two witnesses.

I made a fake one later which I have framed and will use to intimidate my kids with showing them how sharp I am with the aim of pushing them as far away from computer science as possible. I still have the graduands booklet as proof! This is my hypothesis; Human children are not like elephant calves who do everything mama does.

Seems like the computer has not noticed that we are in a new millennium where it was supposed to replace the human race. With last year’s K.C.S.E results, I am thankful I ended up with wildlife. At least I don’t have to live with the fear that there will be no elephants in the country, unless of course we continue taking up their habitat and awarding ourselves for showing them great kindness.