Hide and seek could save your life

October 8, 2007 –

Mother and daughter are running through a dark, creepy forest. You can hear them breathing. Every branch they step on echoes. It’s raining, they’re soaked. There are dogs close by. They’re scared.

Guns are cocking. Then gunshots. The girl screams. Her mother hisses at her to be quiet. They keep running. There’s a river, a waterfall. The mother can’t think. She scared.

She pushes her daughter behind a rock. The dogs get closer. She can hear the soldiers voices.
“Stop woman! Stop!” They’ve spotted her. They aim. They shoot. She screams and jumps into the falls.

The girl wants to scream, but she covers her mouth. She wants to cry, but the soldiers might hear her. The dogs have stopped. They can smell her. They come nearer. They start barking. She’s so scared.

“Come Fido. Come Killer. Here Spike. Let’s go, she must be dead.” The dogs are called off. In minutes, they’re gone.

The girl finally breathes. She cries. She longs for her mother.

Then she hears leaves, cracking branches. She tenses.
“Princess, princess? Are you there?” A cautious whisper. Her mother! They embrace and cry, rest, then keep running.

That scene got me thinking. If my baby was in trouble, would I hide her to save her? Would I risk her fate to a basket in a river like Moses? Would I sacrifice myself and risk leaving her alone in the world?

Humans are more resourceful than we think. But would my baby be able to fend for herself? Would she be better off alive and alone than dead at my side? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

I don’t think I could leave my baby. Not now. Probably not ever. I would rather die fighting beside her than leave her alone in this hateful world. But then is that my choice?

As a parent, I try to do what’s best for my child. But when I think about it, I realise staying with her, taking a bullet for her, is what’s best for me, not her. I would die in peace knowing I’d done my best, and would be spared watching her die. But if I ran off and was killed far away leaving her safe, alive, that would be best for her. She’d be alive.

Think of a violent robbery. The thugs want to rape a man’s wife and daughter. He starts to resist, they threaten to shoot him. What should he do? Should he stay alive and watch his women get raped? How does he know the thugs won’t kill him when they’re done?

Or does he take the bullet? After all, it’s better to die than watch your women violated. If he lives, he’ll help them get through it – assuming the thugs let them live. If he dies, the women will still be raped and/or killed, except he won’t live to see it.

The toughest part of loving someone is knowing the difference between what’s best for you and what’s best for them, then choosing their interest over your own, whether it’s choice of wardrobe, amount of allowance, or what to buy for their birthday.

Why do we drum our fingers during traffic jams?

October 12, 2007 –

Why do we break things when we’re angry? Why do we hug pillows when we’re down? Why do we wear red on vals? Why do we drink chicken soup for colds?

I’m still ranting about the influence of media. Yesterday I was moody, so I hugged a book and went for a long walk. But then I asked myself, Am I doing this instinctively, or have I just seen too many chicks in movies doing it?

There are things we’ve seen so many times that we’ve learnt them. TV has taught as that when you’re really angry, you throw vases at the wall. You sweep things off the table. You scream like an animal. When you kiss, you tilt your head (I think the guy in that scene had a big nose) and lift one foot off the ground. When you’re happy, you click your heels. When you propose, you get on one knee. When somebody dies, you buy flowers. You play she loves me, she loves me not, when you know perfectly well that you cannot make someone love you by killing a flower! These things are so ‘natural’ now that you can’t trace the source or even understand why you do them.

That’s the whole problem.

Because media hasn’t just trained us to do little things like having Christmas trees in the tropics. It’s taught us that violence is acceptable. That divorce is normal. That cheating on your partner is standard. That guns are commonplace. That alternate lifestyles are alternate lifestyles!!!

So before you drum those fingers in impatience, ask yourself exactly why you’re doing it. Then just try to watch a little less TV.

Should I change who I am to make somebody love me?

October 12, 2007 –

The most important thing to me right now is to be myself. That’s because for the longest time, I was with someone who didn’t love me for me. And he didn’t even realise it until he met someone he did love. It hurt, but I let him go. Because true love doesn’t force. True love lets the one you love be happy, even if that happiness lies with someone else. And you know what, sometimes true love sucks.

This love poem pretty much sums it up:

If you hold love too tight, you’ll squeeze it to death.

If you hold it too loose, it will fly away.

What happens if you don’t hold it at all?

If you love something, you let it go.

If it comes back, it’s your for sure.

If it doesn’t, it was never yours.

I’m letting you go my love.

I hope you’ll find your way back to me.

Anyone who has to change you to love you, doesn’t. There’s only one person who changes us, and that’s God. And He never forces us to change. He looks at us, tells us what’s wrong with us, tells us why it’s wrong, asks us if we want to change, then changes us for the better. And the best part is if we refuse his help, He loves us anyway! That’s what true love is about. Don’t settle for any less.

There’s a difference between Mr Right and Mr Perfect

October 12, 2007

The latter doesn’t exist.

We all grow up with the image of the perefect lover. Tall dark, handsome. Great cook, curves to kill. Loving, caring, muscled like Schwartzenegger. Knight in shining armour, fairy princess.

Reality check. there is no perfect human being except Jesus Christ. And he didn’t have a girlfriend, so that’s a pretty big hint.

I believe there is that one ideal love for everyone. I believe every Adam has his Eve. (Yes, I did say every Adam has his Eve. The Eves outnumber Adams, so sorry feminists, gender equality stops at gender-based population.)

I believe we sometimes have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find our ideal love. Sometimes we have to marry them. Sometimes we can live with them in tolerable marriages and raise functional families. Sometimes we have to be crushed and hurt by them. Sometimes we even stay together for years, and don’t realise what we’re missing until the real Mr Right comes along.

But I believe all the relationship (heaven and) hell you go through just prepares you for your ideal mate. Of course you won’t believe that until you find your ideal mate.

Here’s the clincher. Ideal mate does not mean perfect mate. Nobody’s perfect. Ideal mate means perfect for you. It means you can tolerate each other’s faults and still be madly in love. It means you bond so well, so naturally, so effortlessly that it’s scary. It means it’s so good that you want to run away because you’re so sure something will go wrong. It means you accept there are things in them you dont like, but that doesn’t change your love for them. It means you don’t want to change them, you just want to love them forever. And yes, it exists. Trust me, I know.

So stop looking for Mr Perfect and keep an ear out for Mr Right. He’s out there. And eventually, he’ll find you.

Should you fight for the person you love?

October 12, 2007

I’m not talking about standing up to people who don’t like your lover. I’m talking about fighting a rival. All the movie cliches go on about that. If someone is after your man, you should make sure you keep him and all that. But is that for real?

Can you make somebody love you? You can do the things that they like, and be a person they would love you to be, but can you really make them love you?

The whole dating game is about putting a front that attracts your target. Hence the breakdown of many relationships once the mask comes off. That’s also why it’s safer to date your friend. They know exactly who you are, so if you chose to become more than just friends, you have a better chance of making the relationship work – they’ve seen all your skeletons.

So, when a rival shows up, do you fight? And how exactly do you fight? Do you, as a girl, start fixing up your hair the way he likes, to look better than the rival? Do you, as a guy, take her out more, call her more often, so she realises what a catch you are?

Aren’t you just lying? Because if you’re acting to win the person’s love, you can’t do it forever, and when you stop acting, it’s over. Doesn’t it make much more sense to just keep doing what you usually do? If your lover likes you for who you are, the rival is wasting time. If you have to change who you are to win someone’s love, they’re not worth loving. And if your lover is looking for something you don’t have, let him go find it. If you really love him, you want him to be happy, right? Or would you rather hold on and be miserable?

I’m not talking about basic positive changes, like grooming or learning to cook their favourite meals. I’m talking about suddenly wearing minis when we all know you were born in jeans. Or forcing yourself to drink fanta when you’re Guiness damu.

You can’t make somebody love you, so don’t lose yourself trying. Love yourself and trust God, that right person will come along, and you know what, they’ll adore you, quirks and all.

Who says flowers are romantic?

October 10, 2007

Symbolism is a very interesting thing. And TV makes it worse. I heard someone make an interesting point once. Christians wear crosses as a sign of their faith because Jesus died on a cross. So if He had been shot, or executed by lethal injection or the electric chair, would we be wearing those around our necks?

Symbols are the language of TV. In the movies, men always give flowers, women give ‘the look’ when they are ready to be kissed, people die with just a trickle of blood on their lips, hugs and handshakes speak volumes, people communicate by staring (although the background music helps. We never notice it until the volume button jams. Did you notice how eerie The Fast and the Furious was? Did you notice why?).

It’s not just TV, it’s all media. I tried to write a labour scene for radio based on my experience delivering my baby girl. Come production time, it was too dull. People are so used to the dramatic screams, raving and namecalling that the real thing just isn’t believable. Try this. Watch a scene in the ER. Kill the background music, turn off the flashing lights. Or watch the ‘making of’ any scene – the kind on bonus DVD’s or documentaries. Need I say more?

People in the real world learn by watching TV. Women expect a ‘romantic man’ to behave a certain way. And men expect a ’submissive woman’ to act a certain way. A single woman with cats is labelled desperate while a single man with a dog is macho. But are these things real?

Are flowers really romantic, or was that the invention of some director with a big garden? Is there a ‘proper way’ to kiss and hug a lover, or did we all just watch the same love scene? Is there a set bedroom pattern or did James Bond teach us the ABC’s? And how exactly can chocolate substitute something that has very little to do with cocoa? Does TV copy real life, or does real life copy TV?

And for the record ladies, TV is choreographed and generally filmed in front of at least ten people, so expecting your man to pull that perfect left-right thing on a dark doorstep without bumping noses or clinking teeth is a bit much! And no, the average man does not do the cheeks, neck, shoulder waist thing unless he reads your romance novels or watches those [sections of those] scenes very keenly. Trust me, a male and female may be watching the same love scene on the same screen, but their focal points are totally different.

I could create a whole new culture by getting a job as a writer on 24 and having Jack Bauer give Kim an AK for her birthday. Or having Bo Brady give Hope (or is it Gina?) a Swiss Knife for Valentines day.

This debate is usually titled Art imitating life and vice versa. But what I really want to know is which genius decided flowers are romantic?

Are blondes really dumb?

October 10, 2007

Or for that matter, are the Irish? Are the French born chefs? Are Germans genetically stingy? Do the British lack emotions? Do all Luo’s have expensive phones? Are all Nyeri women Kirucy’s?

The interesting thing about stereotypes is how true they are. But why are they so accurate? I refuse to believe you can be born a thief just because your parents have a certain last name. You can be talented, yes, but not because of your tribe or nationality.

I think stereotypes are more about nurture than nature. Case in point. Every Kenyan (and anyone who watched Nation TV station on a certain night) knows that women from Nyeri are terror on legs. But is it really in their blood? Or do they learn by watching their mothers and sisters?

Do all JVC’s park their Mercedes’ outside their mabati huts because of having too many O’s in their surnames? No, they probably grew up admiring all the Mercs in their neighbourhood and followed suit. Can IQ be altered by changing the colour of your hair? Now, really!

So the next time you go saying all Kambas have major appetites, or that all Americans are loud, take a look around, you’ll see just how and why they got that way. And no, it’s not because of their last name.

What’s all the fuss about a hat?

October 9, 2007

No, seriously, what’s all the fuss about? A burka, veil, buibui or whatever covers the head – and sometimes more. It’s a symbol of religion, and thanks to suicide bombers and religious thugs, a symbol of fear. But why all the fuss about what is basically a hat?

Some people say it’s anti-feminist. (I personally think feminists took a good thing too far, but that’s a battle for another day.) Well, it is inhuman – to force anyone to wear something they don’t want to wear.

But not everyone is forced to wear hijab. For some women, veils are about modesty. Lots of women wear it willingly. A woman on CNN put it beautifully: “Why would I want any man who isn’t my husband to look at me provocatively?” You have to admit, buibui and hijabs get you a lot of respect on the street. I know someone who was constantly hit on at work until she started wearing hijab. I think it’s the fear factor. These days, most people think twice before pissing off a Muslim.

Other women wear veils from their own religious devotion, or respect for their families. Case in point? Riverbend. Mind you that can be nasty too. I once saw a woman in KBS covered from head to toe, plus eyes and hands. She had her glasses on over her buibui. She was struggling to hold onto the rail, falling over each time the bus braked, and trying to keep her balance. When the conductor reached her and she had to try to get her money out of her handbag, it was painful to watch. Mind you, the woman was pregnant!! And no, I did not offer her my seat – it was pre-Michuki, I was suspended in mid-air few centimetres away.

Now frankly, I don’t find hair – or arms very sexy. I don’t get why short-sleeved tops or flipping hair is such a turn-on. So I don’t equate hijab or buibui to sexuality. So some dude in Australia saying an unveiled head is like an uncovered meat is just ***. But that’s just me.

My point here is this, don’t assume. I know women who are perfectly happy to wear hijab. And I know others who hate it. I know women who live in jeans, and others who wouldn’t be buried in trousers. Let women wear what they want to wear – it’s a free world. And if you don’t want to see their clothes, close your eyes!!!

I am not my hair…or am I?

October 9, 2007

First impressions count. And people judge by what they see. It’s not fair, but it’s a fact. Deal with it.

I have dreadlocks on my head. It’s not a statement, or religious. It’s just the latest stage in my hair trials. And I like it. It helps sometimes. I still get lots of catcalls, but it’s been a while since anyone grabbed my wares uninvited. Dreadlocks intimidate those types. And people like makangas (touts) are much nicer to girls with dreadlocks – dreads make you look like a “woman of the people, an average Shiru.”

But people do judge me for my hair. When they look at me, they don’t see me, they see “Sister dread, Natty girl, Jah love.” Luckily, that’s generally a good thing.

But judgement by appearance isn’t always good. When I dress in a sexy way, men catcall. And I get pissed. I didn’t dress for them. I dressed for myself. Sometimes I dress to please my man, but never for the construction workers, officemates etc who also notice what I wear.

There’s the model in six inch heels and a teeny-weeny-mini who was the star of the street until she dropped her purse and everyone just laughed at her. She couldn’t bend to pick it up! By the way, it was some nice guy who finally helped her out. There’s the women who get stripped and worse for their clothes.

No, I’m not defending it. Stripping worsens the problem, and is always done with all the wrong intentions. And NOTHING JUSTIFIES RAPE.

But we have to admit, men – and some women – are visual creatures. They react to what they see. And frankly, even nuns and buibui-clad women get catcalls. Some men are just dumb like that. They think it’s macho and normal to treat a female like a piece af meat. And to set the record staright, it’s not. Some women do like to be viewed as sex-objects, but most don’t. Take note.

But whether we like it or not, how you dress, what you drive, how you wear your hair, makes people judge you. Right or wrong, it’s a fact.

So ladies (and gents), be careful with your hair. Some people will disrespect you no matter what you do. That’s tough. But you don’t have to encourage them. You can choose not to make yourself a target.

Wear your minis, killer slits, crazy hair, skin tight jeans. Look good and feel good. But don’t complain if some idiot whistles at you or makes a grab for your wardrobe choice. It’s not right, but it’s a natural reaction. And you can’t control someone else’s response to you. You can influence it, but you can’t control it.

Not everyone is mature enough to supress wrong urges. That’s why we have crime. So if you dress to impress, be prepared for those who pick the wrong impression.

Man-pleasing garments?????

October 9, 2007

I heard a comment on a CNN documentary. A former nun was saying how liberating the habit was. And I quote: “For seven years I didn’t have to worry about make-up, hair, or wearing man-pleasing garments.”

Well, most liberal women – me included – claim we dress to please ourselves, NOT men. And if they happen to like how we look, well, that’s cool too. It’s a fringe benefit.

Of course there are several categories of man-pleasing clothes. There’s clothes that men like, i.e sexy, or femine. Then there’s clothes that men want you to wear, e.g your father, brother, boyfriend, or husband’s preferable choice.

The documentary brought that out too. The issue of Hijab, Burka or Buibui for Muslim women. Most people take these garments as a sign of female oppression. In some cases it is. Take the case of a fashion designer who leaves home shrouded, gets to her boutique and sheds her buibui to show her lovely designerware! Or a teenager who wears her black, shapeless thing and underneath has jeans or flirty skirts, or even just a regular dress, clothes that she likes.

But the there’s Riverbend, an Iraqi woman who for years never wore a buibui, but chose to wear one in post-war Iraq. Why? “My male relatives take me everywhere, and when I don’t wear my buibui, people call me names and my relatives are forced to protect me.” Riverbend has witnessed men being physicaly attacked for being with an unveiled woman. And there are all the Muslim women in France, Turkey and other places who demonstrate to be allowed to wear their veils in public.

Female oppression? What is more demeaning? A veiled woman who drives her own car, runs her own business, chooses her own dowry and is entitled to inheritance? Or a girl in a flirty skirt with spiky hair who has to be at home by seven and cannot talk in male presence or date because “Daddy says it’s bad manners” ?

Oppression is not about clothes. It’s about the attitude behind those clothes. The veil itself does not oppress women. But being forced to wear a veil, jeans, long skirts, minis, or any other kind of clothing, is oppression.

Everybody hates their job – especially at 25!!

October 18, 2007

Why? because it’s probably your first job, and probably not what you expected.
All through your (school) life you knew you would grow up and be something, have a great job, make lots of money.

Then you get into the real world, study whatever career path you fell into, tarmac for a while, get a job that pays – well – not what you expected, and where everybody treats you like an idiot, a child, fresh meat. Or all of the above! At first, you envy people who (you think) have jobs they like. Then you start to wonder if anyone has a job they like. Finally you fall into step and drudge along.

I like my job. And I’m 25. Shock shock! Well, honestly, I’ve learned to like it. I just focus on it’s good points. Like a salary, proximity to my bedroom, no commuting, more time with my daughter, daily beach access, blackforest cake and whilte wolves… it’s not that bad! And I don’t even have to wear a buibui!

There are some lucky people who like their jobs, because they do what they love. My dream job is radio presenting. But since I started writing seriously, I’m worried. I’ve always written for passion. Now that I’m writing for money, it’s not fun anymore. In fact, for the last three days, I’ve been totally unable to write! So what if I somehow get into radio and block? Would I lose my psyche – or worse, my voice?

Take a kid with a talent – sports, music, art, anything. They love it! Now make them practise six times a day, change their diet, get them a trainer. Make them a professional. Result, they’re the best in the world, they’re millionaires, they can retire at…25? But now, they hate it. The joy in it is dead. It’s just a job. Or worse – an escape from the life they lost getting to the top. A consolation prize.

Some prodigies do get a second chance. The money helps with that. Some crash and burn and never get up. To love my writing again, I have to take the ‘job’ out of it, and just write. If I make money, great. If not, well, that’s what the day job is for. I suppose all artists should have a day job for that, if nothing else. Or have a rich parent, spouse, or organic ATM. Otherwise the passion and beauty of you art will die, and so will your soul.

So if you have a hobby or talent, live it, love, but think very carefully before making it your career. And if you can’t do what you love, learn to love what you do.

My song has arrived

October 16, 2007

You are the song I’ve longed to hear
Plucked my strings, tuned my notes,
At last I am free to dance.
Sing your song my love,
Shower me with your presence.
Smile my love, arise
Watch your lady dance.

Pain blinded me
Stopped my ears with corks of hurt.
But I open my eyes, I see you.
You give me strength to pop the corks
And fill your glass with my soul’s champagne.

Raise your glass my love,
Toast your lady.
Lay back, smile,
Watch your lady dance.

Think about this, it’s really scary

October 15, 2007

“I was raped. I killed one. I’ll kill them all.”

I was shocked. No – more than shocked. Because I heard these words at 4.00 a.m. From my husband.

I hadn’t seen Tom for days. I had called him every night, and heard a dull, drunken “I’m on the way,” only to wake up to an empty bed. The first night of his absence was the worst. I kept tossing, turning, praying…I didn’t sleep until 5.00 a.m. That was the night it happened.

He was drunk. There were four of them. He wasn’t sure what had happened – he couldn’t remember. He didn’t want to talk about it.

I was terrified. HIV. AIDS. Death. I held him, searching for the right words. He was stiff in my arms. I could almost hear his thoughts – I’m a man. I have to be tough.

Later, it all came back. He didn’t need a doctor, he said – and he still didn’t want to talk about it. He says he’s okay, but I know he’s not. I know he has wounds, on his body, in his mind, wounds I can’t heal. What do I do? How do I help the man I love?

What does a man do when he’s raped? Where does he go? They have no FIDA or COVAW. They can’t tell their boys. They can’t even tell their wives. A sodomy survivor can’t acknowledge his fear or shame coz men don’t do that. He feels less of a man because someone made him a woman. He can’t seek medical attention because that would expose him. He can’t grieve because “Men don’t cry.” He can only get angry. Anger is acceptable. Anger is manly. He can avenge himself. He can hurt those who hurt him. He can kill. And he’s all alone.

It’s worse if the rapist is female. For a man to have sex – consensual or otherwise – he must be erect. And since a man can’t be forcefully aroused, he can’t be raped – or so we think. If a man’s penal area is stimulated, he will rise. If he didn’t want to be touched in the first place, then had to perform, he was raped. It’s that simple. This may not be as physically painful as for a female, but it is equally damaging.

A man called a late night radio show discussing date rape, and told the following story
“A girl I know asked me to help her catch a stray cat. When I got there, she and four of her friends cuffed me to a bed, fed me Viagra, mounted me, and satisfied themselves. I don’t like girls anymore.”

Another guy said “We’ve been friends since we were kids, and hang out a lot. We were watching TV, and she started touching me. I told her I wasn’t comfortable, but she wouldn’t stop. Then she came onto me and did her thing. I was confused and shocked, so I just left. The next day she acted as if nothing had happened, and when I asked her, she said it was no big deal. I can’t face her now, or even talk to her.” Many callers said that these guys must have enjoyed themselves, but it doesn’t sound like it.

Rape is rape. And talk is the best therapy. So what happens if you can’t? These two guys needed to talk so badly that they called a stranger at 2.00 a.m. Our men have become what we’ve taught them to be – strong, invincible…unreachable. And until we can let them be human instead of forcing them to hide behind the image we created, all we can do to help them is pray.

To flush or not to flush?

October 15, 2007

There are two terms that I have never quite understood: Baby boomers, and generation X. The former are children born during the baby boom following World War II. The latter I’m not really sure, but I think it has to do with Christianity and the Swinging Sixties. Much as I’m against labelling people, I can’t resist declaring myself a bonafide 21st century baby boomer – not that I was born during a baby boom, but I’m among a breed of just-post-teen mothers. There are a large number of young mothers between the 18 and 24 – and they’re not all single. And surprise, surprise – many of them are loving it. I include the ‘sperm-donors’ – no offense meant – in the ‘Baby boomer’ family, since a reasonable number of them are sticking around for baby’s first steps.

Pregnancy in such a situation carries a lot of stigma. Many young ladies end up dropping out of school, and many times get kicked out by their parents. However, unplanned pregnancy is no longer a death sentence. Once a lady has a baby – planned or otherwise – she often gets focused and gets her life back, and takes pretty good care of the child. An added bonus applies when the baby’s father hangs around, which is happening more and more. It’s a tough choice to make, but once made, society should ‘back off’. If two people have taken responsibility to have and raise a child, then ‘society’ should applaud them for not creating another street child or worse. Whatever the case, the making of a child is a private affair, and there’s little reason why the rest of the world should involve itself thereafter, especially if the ‘assistance’ is neither material nor very helpful.

That aside, many young people (and some not so young people) faced with unplanned pregnancy choose the ‘easy option’. A woman already has more children than she can handle – financially and emotionally. A couple already has the ‘ideal family’ and can’t really afford one more member. A young lady has a promising career, or is at a crucial point in her career. The conception was from a bad relationship, or a rape or incestual incident. The choice to abort seems like a logical one, the simpler one. But is it really?

We have heard over and over the health risks involve in aborting. The process itself is quite gruesome, and many would be deterred if simply knew what is actually involved. Many abortions are performed through suction, where a vacuum-like machine is used to pull the foetus out of the uterus. In an alternate operation, the foetus is literally pulled apart within the womb, and the individual pieces pulled out. A certain documentary, “The Silent Scream”, shows the foetus trying to get away from the suction pump. That gives some food for thought for those who argue that a foetus is simply ‘a bunch of cells’. And even in ‘safe abortions, long-term effects can include difficult periods and the possibility of not being able to conceive in future.

Many abortions are abortive – no pun intended. As it is illegal in our country, it is often carried out in a clandestine manner, and not necessarily by qualified personnel. Hence not only does the baby survive, but both mother and baby end up with defects, injuries, damage – and sometimes there are multiple fatalities. This is the main reason some doctors are advocating for abortion to be legalized. They argue that the need for abortion cannot be eliminated, and many lives can be saved by giving women a safer method of aborting, under qualified doctors. In addition, if women can approach doctors openly without fear or stigma, it is that much easier for doctors – who know the real dangers of abortion – to talk the women out of it.

Aside from the medical complications, societal stigma, possible criminal prosecution, and religious factors make the choice to abort a tough one. Most human beings – even atheists – have a deep belief in some supreme being. This belief makes it difficult to end another life. Even when a woman does, the resulting guilt can be debilitating to a point of nervous breakdown.

Even those who believe in evolution have an inherent belief in a reason and purpose for life that makes it very hard to summarily end it. Anyone who has watched an animal being slaughtered or hunted has a good idea of the value of life. The condemned animal fights for its life even after the deathblow has been cast. No one who has witnessed this can ignore the value of life, or deny that destroying life has consequences, whether they are seen or not.

The repercussions are two-fold for a woman. Despite liberalization, women have a maternal instinct that is so powerful that even the staunchest feminist eventually hears her biological clock ticking. Add that to the natural knowledge that life is valuable, and abortion has the potential to drive a woman insane. Nor does the guilt go away. Every time she has her period, she sees a child, hears a cry or a giggle, she remembers what she did. As far as 15 years down the line, a woman may see a teenager and imagine what her son or daughter would have looked like. And having other children does not necessarily erase the pain. Neither does remorse. Different women have different ways of dealing with this. But just because they don’t admit the effect – even to themselves – doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Abortion also changes the relationship between the deceased child’s parents. If they remain together, they are reminded of their guilt each time they look at each other. This can push them apart as they begin to resent the company of a person who makes them hate themselves. It takes deep love, strength, patience and conviction to restore – and even maintain these relationships. And if they split, each partner is left with a lasting wariness of the opposite sex that can hinder all future relations with lovers.

These are some of the scars abortion leaves behind, the ones few people talk about. These are some of the reasons why taking the easy way out is often the tougher choice.

A poem for Wolfie

October 15, 2007

When I think of you,
I think of white wolves and blackforest cake.

My white wolf is arctic:
distant and rare
unless you know where to look.
Broad frame, never keeping still –
built for cruelty,
formed for affection.

My blackforest –
the mystery I long to solve –
could hide a painful death
or a blissful Eden.

Rich chocolate, red cherries, whipped cream
for the depth and purity of my desire,
for the passion you ignite.

I wish to be lost in my forest,
to nibble each layer,
to cuddle my white wolf,
to devour my chocolate cake.

Good news for chess geeks – it can actually impress girls!

October 15, 2007 –

Chess is a game that is hundreds of years old, yet even in the 21st century, it’s appeal is amazing. A large percentage of the world’s population bears passionate feelings towards chess, ranging from love, adoration, obsession, curiosity, to awe and even fear.

The royal game – as it is sometimes known – is believed to have originated in India and Persia as early as the 7th century AD. The name ‘chess’ is derived from a Persian word ‘shah’, which means ‘king’. Similar games were played in Asia from way back, including the Japanese ‘Shogi’ and the Sanskrit ‘Chaturanga’. Part of chess’ appeal is its rich history. Many people simply enjoy the prestige of playing a game that has existed for over 1000 years.

Another facet of the prestige factor is the people associated with chess. It has been a passion of the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte, and General Gerald R. Ford, a former president of the United States. Its fold also includes famous doctors, scientists, monarchs, diplomats and intellectuals. Any chess player – or chessist – can thus boast to be in excellent company.

In the modern world, chess has developed into a form of sport, with international tournaments and competitions, appealing to both players and spectators. Unlike most sports, it appeals to both male and female participants, for a variety of different reasons. In the ageless battle of male/female dominance, chess provides an equal playing ground. Since it is entirely a game of the mind, male and female combatants can play on an equal footing. It has no weight classes, no gender preferences for speed or strength, and no specified distance. However, many tournaments are still gender based.

Arguably, the liberal female of the 21st century would be delighted by a game, which the most powerful piece is the queen. The ‘typical male’ would be equally attracted to the principle of an ‘all-powerful female’ – the queen – whose sole purpose in life is to protect her man – the king. This way the king is still the boss, but the queen calls the shots – metaphorically. Everyone is happy.

The mental facet of chess encourages conventional ‘underlings’ as well. Younger siblings have a fair chance of beating their big brothers or sisters in chess. This is an attractive prospect to people who are always considered smaller or weaker than their elders. It also provides a sort of ‘battleground’ for the intellectual types who cannot claim their ‘territory’ through brawn.

Chess is primarily a war game. The kings and queens head their armies of knights and foot soldiers into battle. The chess-players are army generals who play tactical strategies against their enemies, with the aim of capturing the opposing king. This delights the male psyche, which is genetically in to dominance, protection of his dependants, and action over diplomacy. It also attracts people who may never have a chance to go into actual battle. It further provides the adrenal rush of combat without the mess, blood, gore, and pain that accompanies actual warfare.

On a lighter and – dare I say – more feminine note, chess has romantic connotations. It conjures ideas of kings and queens sitting in royal parlours over a board of elaborately carved chessmen, or of couples seated in shady glades absorbed in mental courtship over a chessboard. Ironically, this idea of ‘romance’ came from a man. An 18th century orientalist, Sir William Jones, wrote a poem in 1783 called Caissa. He tells of a beautiful wood nymph of the same name, who caught the attention of Mars, the Roman god of war.

The smitten deity tried everything beneath the sun (and above it) to win the love of this woodland creature, but to no avail. In desperation, he asked his fellow god for help. He was advised to seek out Euphron, the god of sport. Euphron obliged by inventing chess, which Mars then presented to his lady of love. Caissa was so enchanted by this new game that she fell in love with Mars. Modern lovers may be wise to try this approach – provided the object of affection doesn’t prefer WWF to board games.

One aspect that makes chess a beautiful game is its sense of unity. When two players are on opposing sides of a board, it doesn’t matter who is older, wiser, darker, lighter, smarter, or stronger. Chess disregards differences in race, gender, age nationality, or social class. All that matters is the love of the game and the skill of play.

Chess, by its very nature is a gentleman’s game – though it plenty of room for gentle ladies as well. It allows for spectators just like any other game. However, it lacks the rowdiness and hooliganism of other popular sports like football. The concentration required for playing chess usually leaves no room for vulgar behaviour. And apart from kibitzing (a cute little word that means ‘commenting on the game officially or unofficially’), there is silence to allow the players to concentrate. No yelling at the players or abusing the referee here.

Lots of people love this game for different reasons. It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s classy….and announcing that you play chess certainly makes one look very intelligent. That’s my favourite reason to keep my chessophreneticism (chess mania). So, what do you say to a game that allows a five-year-old girl from Kibera to play anyone from a Russian Czar to the President of the United States? Viva Chess!

Designer love

October 15, 2007 –

Stylish, trendy, useful
They hide the truth behind the lie
That dwells in my teary eyes.

Digital surround, 5.1
They block my ears
From the cries of my heart
As it longs for you.

Flat screen, 60 inches
It blanks my mind
From thoughts of secret places
Where I long to hold you
If only you would let me.

Devil’s heels
They strain my calves, keep them straight
Not curled around you
Not bent to receive you.
They hoist me above the mortal you adore.
I look down my nose in mock disdain
Hiding my pain with pride.

Made to fit, flossing my wares–
That you have no need for.
Making them weep whom I do not desire
Longing to drop for you
As others grope for me.

Soft as flowers, scent of roses
Touch of satin
To dry my jealous tears.

Kama wanipenda, nipatie gari lako ; If you love me, hand over the remote!

October 15, 2007 –

Opposites attract and like poles repel, right? So what you like, your partner will hate. Still with me? Clapton is right. Love is when you do something you hate to please someone else. And I don’t mean your boss.

Love is when a feminist cooks for you. Or when Schumacher gives you his car keys. Or when you sit at home and watch a soap with her on Tuesday night (UEFA Cup!) Or when you give up your Tuesday soap to watch Valencia play Chelsea.

So then, when you love someone, you’re happiest when they’re not, and vice versa. Mostly on Tuesday nights.

Love is about putting someone else above yourself. You buy her that 500$ Vanity case instead of a 2 dollar sink and mirror. You buy him that autographed, genuine football shirt instead of the new Christina Aguilera fragrance you had come for. You listen to his music, you wear her favourite cologne.

Showing affection through sacrifice is tricky. Because being opposites, your ideas of sacrifice aren’t the same. Case in point, on that Tuesday, he gave up his boys, his beer, his surround system, to watch some silly Mexican soap. But guess what. She wasn’t impressed. Coz she watches the soap every Tuesday. To her it’s business as usual. And you’re presence (or absence) will not change the colour of Alejandro’s eyes (No sweetie, his name is pronounced AleHandro).

On the other hand, if you had called her over specifically to watch that soap and kicked out your boys as she watched…

As long as opposites attract, chances are that killer dress you spent 6,000 on will go unnoticed. Until you shed it. So will the work you did on her car. It’ll cost you an arm and a foot, but most women will notice the scent and the colour full stop. Buy her some candy-scented car freshener, or fill the empty bottle with your cologne. Forget the alloy rims and just have her car painted lilac. Then register the new colour for her. Of course the one girl who does know what horsepower means, will likely get 100$ worth of red roses.

Sacrifice only scores if they directly asked you to watch the match. Otherwise it’s much more fun watching football with your boys than your girl. And how many times will you say ‘”No honey, Barbara is Santiago’s fiancee, the one he really loves is Lisa. Maragarita is just having his baby.”

Show love to show love, not to score points. You’ll both be happier that way. And do what your lover likes, not what you want to do for them. A poem you wrote all night is pointless if your man can’t read French.

You have the perfect love – why look anywhere else?

October 15, 2007

I’m trying to understand something. Maybe you can help me. If you have perfection, why would you want anything less?

I’m a single mother. I have a precious, beautiful bundle of joy. She loves me unconditionally. She doesn’t care if my breath smells, or if I have a bad hair-month, or if I hate housework, or if I have PMS, or if I wear nothing but jeans. All she cares about is that I’m Mum, that she loves me, and that I love her. I have her undying, unquestioning love … until she turns 13, so I have 8 years to go. Yippee! So why am I looking for more?

Our children – no, our babies – love us more than anything and anyone. And we hurt them the most. They’re the ones who get yelled at after a bad day. Coz your spouse can go out when you start nagging. They’re the ones you ignore during news when they want to show you their homework. They’re the ones you shoo away when they come to say good morning at six a.m. -they’re ecstatic because they’ve missed you all night, and you want them to just go away and let you sleep. They’re the ones you leave to the mboch, babysitter, TV or early bedtime so you can go out and have fun.

Parents are human too. We have lives. We want to live for ourselves, not just for our kids. But isn’t it warped that the one person who loves you no matter what is the one person you want to get rid of? It’s not that you don’t love your child, it’s just that sometimes, you need some time to yourself.

I thought about that when I was moping around after being stood up again. I was snapping at my princess and her flowers and her alphabets and her “Mummy tell me what to write, Mummy show me how to colour, Mummy draw me a flower.” She sensed my mood, and went out to play. Now I could breathe, I could take some time for me! Peace! I could listen to the silence and have my tantrums…

Five minutes later, I was peeping out the window to see if she was okay, and thinking of an excuse to get her back inside.

Later that night, I was watching TV, waiting for that call, since he had said he might come by. Actually, the TV was watching itself. I was pretending not to be asleep, so I could hear that knock. Then I hear a door open, those tell-tale flops on the stairs. My little girl, half asleep, had turned and found me missing, and came to look for me. Without a word, eyes still half-closed, she cuddled up next to me, tucked my arm around herself and went back to sleep. I cried.

Here I was moping over somebody who wasn’t here – and didn’t want to be for whatever (very legitimate) reason, when I had the perfect one who wanted nothing but to be with me! Even in her sleep!

We are created to seek love. The kind of love that you can only get from a romantic partner. And all the love of your child cannot fill that void. That’s why God gave Eve to Adam. That’s why He gave them time alone together before the babies came along. We all need that special someone, that’s why no matter how much we’re hurt, how many times love fails, we just keep looking. Lovers aren’t perfect, but we need them and want them.

But instead of crying over what you don’t have, celebrate what you do. Your child can’t keep you warm at night, or feed the craving for ‘I love you’ phone calls, Vals, or Victoria’s secrets. But they will give you a love that no man or woman can rival. And they’ll be 13 soon, so enjoy it while you can.

The moon didn’t rise so…

October 12, 2007 –

..my long weekend aborted. But it did bring to mind a certain issue that irks me sometimes. It’s all about religion.

First of all, I am not religious. I am a believer. The difference is religion is about rules, dogma, tradition, ritual. Lots of people go to church, mosque, synagogue, temple or sacred trees out of habit rather than conviction. But being a believer is about faith. It’s about knowing why you do what you do and doing it anyway. Ask the average religious person why they go to their place of worship. They’ll say “Because my dad did,” or “I always come here,” or “It’s my duty.” A believer will say “Because Jesus / Krishna etc. commands it,” or “To talk to God,” or something like that. That’s me.

But everyone believes their faith is right. Muslims believe everyone else is an infidel – hence jihad. Most Christians believe everyone else will go to hell. Jews believe Christians are blasphemers. Animists believe other tribes are sub-human. So who’s right?
I am a Christian. I am born again. I believe I will go to heaven when I die. But who am I to say Muslims, or Hindus, or Buddhists won’t? Christians argue based on scripture “I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one goes to the Father except through me.” These were Jesus’ words. So then anyone who rejects Jesus as the Messiah will go to hell, right?


When Jesus died, He descended into hell for three days. When He arose, spirits of dead saints were seen on earth. The Bible doesn’t explicitly say who these dead saints were. I say it was Abraham, Adam, all the believers who had died before Jesus was born. Most people believe when you’re dead, it’s over. No second chances. This scripture proves them wrong. Jesus went into the land of the dead to tell them “Here I am. I have come for you. Let’s go home.” Those who believed Him went with Him to heaven. The rest – well, i don’t know. I suspect they’re still in hell. Who’s to say that among those saints, there weren’t Muslims or indigenous believers?

Now, ride with me for a few seconds. Lots of believers are devout in their beliefs. That includes Muslims, Hindus, everyone. They live by their faith and follow it to the letter. So who’s to say God won’t judge their sincerity rather than their choice of what to believe in?

Look at it this way. All human religions have a common thread. Creation myths are similar. The sense of right and wrong is universal. All religions condemn murder. All religions practice some kind of sacrifice to their god of choice. I attribute this to the tower of Babel.

Scripture tells us human beings were getting too ambitious, so God split their language groups to stop them understanding each other. Logically the language barrier stopped communication, but their practices and belief systems remained the same. People moved into separate language based communities, and the distance mutated their practices but the basis is the same.

So if the fundamentals are the same, who’s to say God, who knows us and judges our hearts, will not judge our basic beliefs rather than our rules and doctrines?

Lots of people play God, but I’m glad I’m not Him. Picture this. Two people are praying in the same house. One wants rain, so his crops can grow – his child has just starved to death. The other wants sunshine on her wedding day. Multiply this by the 6 billion people on earth and their billions of prayers. Whose prayer do you answer?

We cannot claim to be God or understand how or why He does what He does. Many times I’ve accused Him for letting something bad happen to me, but later I realise it was for the best. There are some things that only God knows. He knows how He will judge. He knows who will go to heaven and who won’t.

I believe what I believe, and I believe without a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah. But what about a Muslim girl who was raised in a Muslim home, who knows nothing but Islam? Her parents, grandparents, neighbours, everyone she knows, everyone she has ever met is Muslim. Then she goes to university and meets Christians who tell her Christ is the answer, and professors who say there is no God. Can they convince her? Do they have a right to try? What if she’s right and they’re wrong? Who decides?

And what about a Hindu child who was in Nairobi in the early nineties and saw a statue drink milk? I know it happened. I don’t know how it happened, but I know it happened. Who am I to say that statue is false, and that the child should believe in my unseen Jesus?

What about the indigenous Africans and Indians who lived and died before colonisers? They had no idea about God or Jesus or Allah. They believed in Nyasaye, ancestral spirits, human sacrifices – things we now call primitive. And they lived their whole lives according tho these beliefs, from eating to sleeping to funerals. Are you sure they were not among the saints Jesus ministered to?

What happens when we die? Most religions agree that we meet our maker and are judged. No-one has come back to tell us what happened. So how do we know that in that moment there isn’t a last chance? How do we know whether God says ” Look, here’s my Son, here are His wounds. Look at your life, look what He has done for you. do you believe in Him?”

So instead of telling someone that they’re doomed because they don’t share your belief, try winning them over with love. It beats namecalling and suicide bombs hands down.

Fire of my heart

November 1, 2007 –

Fire of my heart that burns me softly
Causes my very heart to bleed

Fire of my heart that burns me softly
Leads everything in me to sing

Fire of my heart that burns me softly
Fighting with all in me to quench

Fire of my heart that burns me softly
I scream, I long, I beg, never end.

The seven-year itch

October 26, 2007

The point in your marriage where you feel enough is enough. You suddenly have ‘irreconcilable differences’ There’s one at four years too. In Hollywood it comes at 11 months mostly, or at 24 four hours in Vegas, when the booze wears off.

Oyunga Pala once said “How can you claim to love one person for life, when you could love millions of other people if you met them?” He was arguing against the soul-mate theory. I hate to agree with him, but I see his point.

Nobody really understands what love is. We try to define it, to prove it, but we don’t really know it. We all know when we’re in love, but let’s face it, it’s way too easy to fall in love, and it feels great. Some people are addicted to it.

And you can fall in love with anyone if you just look at them long enough. Pay enough attention to their good points and anyone becomes attractive. Just ask Shrek! There are millions of potential lovers out there, people who will wind you the right way, people you have everything in common with, people you click with. And you can meet them in the strangest places – and when you least expect it, or need it. Love has the strangest timing.

But it’s just as easy to fall out of love.

That’s why falling in a love and staying in love are two different things. Falling in love is infatuation – heart pounding, palms sweating, body parts dancing, when you smile each time you hear their name. Staying in love is the solid, mature, boring bit of it. The one that holds your hand when you’re sick and cleans up after you at 80 without being paid.

The falling bit is pure chemistry, just hormones and chemicals. That’s why it’s called ‘falling’. You have no control over it. A clever biologist could isolate the hormones, mix them in a test-tube and fake love. So yes, love potions do work – if you believe witchdoctors are really bio-chemists.

But the chemicals fade, and the love dies. You have to choose to stay with a person you no longer ‘love’. You have to consciously find other non-chemical reasons to maintain your attachment, and your affection.

The love for your children or siblings isn’t chemical. It comes from bonding, a sense of belonging. And it’s usually eternal. So why should your spouse be any different? You learn to love your family for life, you can decide and learn to love your partner for life too. You can fall in love with lots of people. Everyone you meet (and a lot of people you don’t meet) is a potential love-connection.

You don’t choose to fall in love, but you decide what to do about it.

You can be tempted to cheat, to be incestuous, to be gay – but you don’t have to do it! That’s a choice, a conscious decision. No excuses.

Fidelity is a choice, not a feeling, and marriage is for life. Even God only gives one parachute – adultery. So the next time you think “I don’t love you anymore,” call your mum, your brother, your sister, your granddad, your favourite cousin and focus on that smile they give you. Think hard before you break somebody’s heart.

KJ ain’t seen nothing yet

October 24, 2007 –

KJ once dissed Kenyan storytelling. You know, the one that goes:

“So I went to the mar-”
“The market.”
“To get some fish for my mo-”

Guess what, there are worse things.

I was whining about how age influences communication.
At 5 – My mummy beated me with a big red shoe.
At 25 – I was abused.
At 55 –
She was very rude, that child , can you imagine? So I took my slipper, the red one I bought at Mama Boi’s shop. Si you know, it, we bought it that day when Susan was hit by car. Kwanza how is Mama Boi, I heard she flew out. Then I spanked her, kidogo tu, not very hard…”

And then there’s Dar. If you don’t understand Swahili, I’m really, really sorry, but some things just can’t be translated. Once I figure out how, I’ll continue this posting. For now, let it be said that my friends have way of stretching a story that is truly insane.

The average joke goes “Why did the chicken cross the road?” “To get to the other side.”

The Tanzanian joke likes to be explained, severally, in detail. One-liners do not exist here.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?”
“To get to the other side.”
“I see, he saw a butcher on his side?”
“With a very big knife.”
“If I was the chicken, I wouldn’t cross. I’d call the butcher’s wife and tell him her man is chasing a chicken”
“And don’t tell her what type of chicken.”
“Of course not. The she’ll think it’s a chicken in a shirt.”
“Not a chicken with wings.”
“And she’ll come out with a bigger knife.”
“Then I won’t have to the cross the road!”
“You know how chickens cry – ko-ko-ko-ko-ko”
“The chickens in skirts don’t cry like that.”
“No, those ones don’t cry, they sing.”
“And when they cry, it makes the big knife happy.”
“When they cry – uuuuuwiiiiii?”
“No, the other cry” (wink wink, nudge nudge)
“So the chicken crosses and a car comes racing down the road – vrooom,vroom vroom”
“But the cars here – when they pass it’s not vroom vroom, it’s kwiki kwikii kwiki”

Ready to scream yet??

Za asubuhi?

October 24, 2007 –

Even after two years in Dar, I am yet to get over Tanzanian greetings and how friendly they can be. Tanzanians – at least the ones in my neighbourhood, are very friendly. The problem with their friendliness is that their definition of friendly is my defintion of nosy.

You walk into the office and you are assailed with “Za asubuhi? Umeamkaje? Dogo yuasemaje? habari za wifi /shemeji? Wote nyumbani hawajambo?” Translation : how is your morning? Did you sleep well? How is your wife? And the children? Everyone at home?” You have to respond to each question individually.

The process is repeated for everyone in the room – and our offices are generally communal. By the time everyone is done greeting each other, I’m ready to scream! And this routine is not just at work. You get it at the kiosk, from waiters, at the bus stop. And if you evade it, you’re disrespectful. So when I need milk, I have to go to the shop and “Vipi Miraji, habari za kazi? Wifi yuasemaje? Kila kitu shwari? Poa.” Only then can I ask for my milk. That’s why they think Kenyans are rude! (Sasa! Leta mkate)

Waiters here refuse to serve you if you don’t start by elaborately asking about their day – ili uwafahamu. And people don’t respond to you period unless you greet them first, even if you whack them over the head with a shoe!

It gets worse. When someone greets you, you greet them back (bad English, I know). So you get “Za asubuhi Crystal?” “Salama Miraji, za kwako?” If you don’t, you’re rude. And it’s not just once a day, it’s everytime you meet! You meet someone in the corridor and it’s “Vipi? Za saa hizi?” (How’s the going) Somebody walks into the office every five minutes to ask us all individually “Kazi yasemaje?” (Literally, what does work say, but generally meaning ‘how is work?’ I still don’t know the correct response) And in the evening “Habari za leo? Habari za kazi” REALLY!!!

I’ve tried to introduce ‘Habari zenu’ and ‘Saseni’ which are mass greetings. No luck. Call me a rude Kenyan, but there’s a reason we take after the British. “How are you,” is just fine, thank you!

Is there a Kenyan culture?

October 22, 2007 –

It’s funny how you never really think about being Kenyan until you leave the country. An article in Friday’s Nation was asking just that – is there a Kenyan culture? It’s conclusion? Not really.

But then haven’t you ever seen someone walking and thought “That looks like a Kenyan.” If you have then there must be something that is truly Kenyan (besides Tusker), whether or not we can define it.

Suki Mwendwa tells a story. She was in Disneyland and saw this bunch of people that just had to be Kenyans. She tried to prove it. “Ksss, ksss” (or is it spelt Pssst). They all turned with that look of “How dare you?” Nobody else paid any attention to her psst pssting. Truly Kenyan?

I saw a Kenyan-looking toddler on Tellytubbies, and said so. The child was in UK, and spoke with a strong British accent. Sure enough, five minutes later, the boy’s grandmother is feeding him brocolli and saying “Kula, kula!”

Here in Dar they say Kenyans have a way about them – a walk, a talk, an attitude. I walked into one shop and was told. “It’s very easy to identify you as a Kenyan. A Kenyan doesn’t know greetings (greetings here are an art – more on that tomorrow). A Kenyan is very rude. A Kenyan is always busy. A Kenyan has no time for people.” And on-and-on and then “You are such a Kenyan.” I said “Thank you,” and walked out. In Dar, Mkenya wewe is not a compliment.

So yes, there is a Kenyan-ness. But it’s like the X-factor: you can’t really define it, but you know it when you see. To Kenyans everywhere I say Acha upumbavu, Kenya tosha.

And to all you ‘typically Kenyan’ drunk drivers out there, I say three things:
Number 1 – Don’t.
Number 2 – Human nature is complex. We form habits and learn to do them automatically, without thinking. Things like walking, riding a bike and…other things.
And number 3 – God loves you. Very, very, very much. That is why you are still alive. YOUR CAR DOES NOT KNOW THE WAY HOME!!!

The beautiful ones are finally being born

October 22, 2007

I heard an interesting comment recently. “Either all the women in Nairobi are suddenly gorgeous, or they’ve just learnt how to dress well.” Yes, it was a man. Yes, he was my date. Yes, he was looking at a voluptuous female. No, the voluptuous female wasn’t me.

But he had a point. Take a look around. Suddenly the whole world is gorgeous. Nursery schools look like beauty pageants, the kids are all so cute! Even my gorgeous little one is only top five in her class. She moves up to first place for her friendly, beautiful heart – even the janitors adore her.

Are we evolving? Personally, I blame it on mixed marriages. Fuse intertribal and interracial gene pools and you get beautiful babies. I pity judges of beauty pageants.

But in this beautiful world, you need to work harder to stand out. It’s not enough to just look like Halle berry. Intelligence helps, so does personality. But you need more. You need the X-factor.

The trouble with the X-factor is nobody can define it. They all say It’s that extra something … you’ll know it when you see it. And you can’t learn it, you either have it or you don’t. Ajuma has it. Alek Wek has it. And the common factor there is…

So, if we don’t all have the X-factor, and we can’t acquire it, how do we get the goodies that X-factor offers? Here’s a suggestion. Acquire a Y-factor. As in “Why you should pick me instead of anyone else.” This Y-factor will get you what you want. It will define why you should get that job instead of the 500 other candidates. Why you should be asked out instead of the other boys in the class. Why you should have your dreams come true.

Every human being has a gift that is uniquely theirs. That’s your Y-factor. Find it. Build it. Make it work. It can be as simple as knowing song lyrics or as complex as learning dance moves instantly. It could be the ability to listen endlessly (to music or nagging spouses), the power to talk non-stop (Radio presenters!) or even just being nice to people you hate – not everyone can do that. They’re called PR Managers!

Think about it. Everyone runs. And everyone can outrrun a dog when they need to. But not everyone is Marion Jones – eh, I mean Kip Keino. Everyone can write (at least their name) but not everyone is JK Rowlings. Everyone can eat, but not everyone can win eating competitions. Find that one passion you do better thn anyone else, and then use it.

These days we have competitions for everything from texting to mosquito-killing (Italy). So stop trying to be like everyone else. Stop forcing X-factors. Find your Y-factor and shine, shine , shine.

The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake!

October 19, 2007 –

That’s a line from Under the Sea. Sebastian is singing to convince Ariel that being a fish beats being human. Busted, I love disney – dreams there always come true there.

I grew up on walt disney principles: You can be anything you want to be. Follow your heart, but know you’ll probably get hurt doing it. It’s okay to be different, just don’t break the law. Glass slippers don’t usually break. All strong women can sing, even the tomboys (and having a bad voice doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sing!) All girls can be pretty if they choose to be (make-up helps). It’s okay to cry, just don’t be a sissy. Sometimes, good people die. Parents can make mistakes. Villains have evil laughs – and evil laughing is fun. I think that’s where I got mine. But most of all, it’s okay to just be yourself.

Disney made me who I am, and after years of emotional battering, I can still find strength in Mulan, Ratatouille and Happy feet. Only Disney can make rats cute! Incidentally, I’d love to voice an animation someday – any takers?

I’ve found strength in other places too – notably Dreamworks. Shrek, with the ugly ogre hero whose heart is gold. Princess Fiona, who shows you don’t have to be pretty to be loved, and that sometimes, it’s okay to rescue your man. And I just love the one-liners.

Cartoons are for kids, right? But cartoons are a big part of who I am. That and Enid Blyton. And I think I turned out okay. I’m trying to raise my daughter on the same principles. I want her to know she can be anything she wants to be, and no career is ‘unworthy’. I don’t care if she wants to be a professional street sweeper – if it makes her happy, that’s what she’ll do. That’s the Disney way. She can live off her trust fund.

But it’s hard raising a disney child when all she wants to watch is My gym partner is a monkey!! The stuff that passes for cartoons these days is scary. Cartoon network needs parental advisory. I mean honestly, Cow and Chicken, Ed, Edd n Eddy, Atomic Betty. Seriously! And to think kids like it! Okay, I can stand Courage the cowardly dog, and Ben 10 has some lovely one liners, but beyond that, I’ll take Looney tunes any day!

Oops, I see I’ve gotten side-tracked. My point was this. Other people’s lives always seem so much better than yours. Their jobs are better, their families are better, their hair is better. Newsflash. That perfect job has a sexually harrassive boss (yes, that’s a word. well, it is now). That dream house is on a shaky mortgage. That dream suit is rented. That perfect face is 80% make-up that took 3 hours to put on. That perfect child has no IQ. That perfect hair is a weave.

I was watching TV some nights ago. Marcy was telling Jody that she had seen a perfect woman in a perfect dress enter a perfect house, kiss her gorgeous husband, and their cute cat. Here’s what Marcy didn’t know. That perfect woman hated that perfect dress, was forced to wear it and prefers jeans. She loves a priest. Her perfect husband cheats on her. The perfect cat was stolen from an old lady to blackmail her into selling her land. The perfect house – that was real. Acquired by blackmailing old ladies. And the priest, well, he loves Marcy.

The grass does always look greener in your neighbour’s garden. It’s the effect of the Sun. Ask Monet. But you know what? Nine times out of ten, your neighbour is looking at your garden and thinking your grass is greener than his.

Images and visions

October 19, 2007 –

I look down at the pond:
The gentle ripples fake a choppy sea.
I look to the heavens:
The pond’s pain reflected.

Which image is real?
My mind swims to find an answer
To save my drowning soul.

In the waters I see
Eyes, life
Dreams reflecting stars.

Show me the money!

October 18, 2007 –

That’s the only thing I remember about Jerry Maguire. That and the doorstep scene.

So, somebody I know is reading Rich dad, Poor dad. I should say re-reading, it’s that good. I’m in line – somewhere. I caught the basic principle. Don’t work for money, make money work for you. Don’t just spend, invest.

The theory goes something like this. Any extra you have, put in something that brings returns. Stocks, shares, real estate, something. Then one day you can get out of the rat race and enjoy life. I was very quick to argue that the assumption here is that I have the extra to begin with! Response : Poor planning. If you want to have extra, you will have extra.

Good point. A suggestion was given. Write down every single cent you spend every day. From that PK Orbit you bought after your kachumbari to the 5 bob you gave a street kid. Then review that list and see just how much extra you really have.

Stumped again. Okay, but don’t you need to have a lot to invest? It’s all very well to make money work for you, but you need to have the money to begin with! It’s all about attitude really. If you think you have no money, you have no money. And no, having nothing in your wallet doesn’t count. Prioritize, avail the funds, then invest them, wisely. Easy.

So then, why doesn’t everyone do it? Well, most people can’t give over control of money. Not to their spouses, and certainly not to some guy in a suit who claims he can mange my money. But here’s the thing. Those suits are trained to do that. So instead of poring over financials and trying to decipher Dow Jones, just hire an Investment banker. Seriously. It costs you less than income tax, they generally charge ten percent. And the more they make for you, the bigger their 10% so they’re well motivated.

Some people don’t mind the rat race. They’re happy to be employed, retire, get a pension, buy a farm. But pension doesn’t go very far these days. And we’re living much longer. So boost it with investments.

The dance of the firefly

November 9, 2007 –

She sat in her hole

and peeped at the world above,

Afraid to shine her light

which was sick and green.

She watched Juliet, the sun.

She watched and waited, wondering what joys would come

when Juliet slept.

The stars winked down at her.

“Come out and dance” they sang.

She stepped out, timid,

and swayed to their song.

But the moon laughed.

Ashamed, she returned to her dark cave.

She heard him crackling in the distance, her lord.

She had never seen him, but her heart knew him.

She rose, all fear gone,

drawn towards the flame.

She watched from a distance,

a stirring deep in her soul.

She listened to him crackle, soft, then loud.

She began to dance,

she couldn’t resist the throb.

Around and around she went,

closer and faster,

ignoring the dizziness

as she ringed round him.

Suddenly, he was quiet.

Still she danced, unable to stop.

She felt giddy as his eyes burned her,

not in pleasure, but in anger.

Her wings curled.

She felt a pain inside and out

as his hot breath blew her back

his eyes still blazing.

She fell into a pool of her tears,

a salty balm for her wounded pride.

The stars smiled comfort

as they nursed her burns.

But the moon sneered at her.

She heard satin sheets rustle

as Juliet rose;

she saw the fire dim in worship.

With a last tear she crept home

for her charred wings

no longer could fly.

The good old days…

November 9, 2007 –

Are you one of those people who think kids today are missing out? They don’t play shake, hopscotch, TV times, kati. In fact, they don’t play anything except Xbox and PS 3, or it four? They never ‘go outside’, they don’t hang out with friends or play cha mama, or kalongo, or pele, or even banta!

Objectively, old is gold in lots of ways. You can’t compare ‘traditional life’ with the 21st century. Just think about it. Free gyms (chopping firewood, distant rivers, digging, walking to market…), cheap organic food – and try comparing your great grandparents to the (late) queen mother! Need I say more?

Technology has its issues. It has introduced a whole new world of danger. Eco-terrorism, environmental racism (yes, that exists. Ask CNN), sex trafficking, online paedophile rings, it’s endless. Sometimes being in the third world is a blessing; less technology means fewer chances of nuclear warfare, serial killers and spycams in your bathroom. Try watching five minutes of Sky news and you’ll be thanking God you live in a ‘backward’ country!!

Africa is blessed. We don’t have subways, trams, or free wireless. But we also don’t have regular hurricanes, tsunamis, typhoon seasons etc. And our lives don’t stop when there’s a power cut. Nature is kind to us. Our issues can be solved; droughts can be sorted by irrigation, strategic planning and smart governing. Desertification is mostly man-made, so can be stopped. Instead, we starve and kill each other for gold, tin, diamonds and politics. Go figure.

But I digress. My rant for today was technology. Sitting indoors all day glued to the screen has raised a world of issues. Obesity, lack of physical fitness, reclusive children who think it’s cool to carry guns to school and massacre their teachers and classmates. Even in Finland! We worry that this lifestyle is killing our social skills. We don’t know how to mingle any more. We don’t make friends, except online. But is that really a bad thing?

Some years back, after work, you’d go to a club, bar, or social place to mix and meet people. These days, you go to a chat room for company. This is bad, right? People need people, not monitors.

But then again, chat rooms give you something flesh and blood can’t. They give you genuine affection.

No, I’m not going nuts.

Think about it. Physical contact is based on looks, clothes, superficial things. At a party, you talk to someone because you like the way they look, the way they dress, the way they walk. Or maybe because they’re isolated – easy target. Online, you talk to someone because of the way they sound. In the virtual world, your only weapon to attract people is conversation. And graphics.

Of course you can pretend to be someone you’re not. Internet stalkers do it all the time. But my point is this. On the net, you talk your way into someone’s good books. Sure you exchange pictures, images and…other things. But to maintain internet contact, you have to keep talking, and talk well. Otherwise your cyberbuddy will get bored and log off.

Too many marraiges end in divorce because the couples have nothing in common. They fall in love, bask in their chemistry, make babies, then one day they sit down, try to talk, and realise they have nothing in common! Online friendships are never based on physical aspects.

Plus, chat rooms connect people from different countries, different races, different backgrounds. They meet, chat, exchange views, find common ground. Sure some people use these chat rooms to plan terrorist attacks. But you have to admit, Yahoo messenger, Google talk, Msn and the rest of them have done as much for world peace as the UN has. And it’s cheaper too.

So then despite all its ills, the internet has had at least one good effect. It has revived the good old art of conversation.

A poem for Sam

November 8, 2007 –

From amid gravid depths

rose a mystery

upon a blue moon.

Like a trout

he leapt out of the waters.

i savoured the gaze

in the azure shade.

He was kind on the eye,

kinder still on the heart.

The apparition

caught my roving eye;


Were he a bird,

my heart would sing;

though I cannot reach

(and dare not dream)

I could watch

and learn to fly.

But my roving heart-

captured in that instant-

wanders in a mist

shelters in a mist.

A mist I fear.

the mist of the unknown.

He wanders alone.

I wish the sun would rise

burning through the fog.

I thought I’d bait a hook

but I fear to do harm –

I don’t know where to start.

I must dive into the deep dark sea,

and pray I will not stumble.


how long will i last

without the air I know?

The tears still fall

November 6, 2007 –

Always it comes – always it happens.

Not that I doubt it’s coming-

Autumn needs her rest

and Winter longs to reign.

And yet each time, I’m caught.

I gasp when the sun begins to fade

and the chill begins to creep in

long before the arms of my love are come to comfort me.

I shake when the wind no longer smells of flowers

but only brings chill and frost.

I cringe in doubt

when the first snowdrops begin to fall.

I shiver from the cold,

but more from surprise.

And when they go to a far off place

where the sun still shines and the birds still sing,

where the flowers still bloom and the harvest is full,

when they leave with no thought of me or mine,

the tears still fall.

I don’t do politics, but…

November 5, 2007 –

…this weekend was pretty scary. First Kenya Human Rights Commission points out that election emails and sms constitue hate crime. Then I find out that several people think the government is on a deliberate campaign to impoverish certain regions. Apparently it does this by killing key industries. This is believed to be a long-term plan, and to be directly related to tribal clashes in Molo and northern Kenya. Hence the majimbo campaign.

Tribalism is a silly, pointless, dangerous vice. Look what it’s done in Darfur and Rwanda! And elections bring it out in full force. We have always said Kenyans are a peace-loving people who hate war. I heard someone once say that after seeing the bloodshed in the ‘98 bomb blast, Kenyans would never fight. But after hearing the passion behind election-mongering, I’m worried.

Why is tribe such a big issue for people? I understand the import of identity and roots. But for me tribe is a language, a surname, and peculiar customs. Tribe is about where you were born and who your relatives are. I mean let’s say there are two houses in a place. One house is red, the other house is blue. So every child born in the red house is a Red, and the blue babies are Blues. That’s their tribe.

Now suppose I live next to them. I like the blue parents, because they have nice hair. I hate the red parents, because their noses are long. Based on heredity, I can say all Blues have nice hair, and all Reds have big noses. But can I say I like all Blues and I hate all Reds? Are you getting my point?

People, this is a democratic election, not a battle. And I for one do NOT want to die. Take a look at the Kenyan map. We are surrounded by Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania (Mkenya wewe!), Somalia and the Indian Ocean. Nowhere to run!! So enough with the the war cries please!!!

My friend Maggie has a basic election guide :
If Kibaki wasn’t Kikuyu, would you vote for him?
If Raila wasn’t Luo, would you vote for him?
If Kalonzo wasn’t Kamba … well, maybe that’s a bad example.

Keep that in mind, vote wisely, watch your words, think before you yell into a microphone or loud speaker, and please don’t start a civil war, I like Kenya just the way it is! Peace everyone.

How many ways can you say ‘get lost!’ ?

November 2, 2007 –

If yes means no, and no means yes, then the best way to get rid of an annoying stalker is to accept them, yes?

And if the cookie-jar theory holds true, then the best way to get someone’s attention is to ignore them, no?

Male-female interaction is tricky. Hence the cliche “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.” Note that both species are too crazy to be named earthlings!

Most men think that when a woman says no, she really means yes. Why? Because most girls are told they have to play hard to get. Unfortunately, this ‘lesson’ has had some horrible results. Read date rape. But gender equality means the guys have a hard time too. They say no, women hear “try harder.”

The 21st century woman has it good. She can work like a man, dress like a man, think like a man, and choose which parts of her remain female. The 21st century male is clueless – how does he react to the 21st century female?

This cluelessness has become a problem for me as a 21st century female. I’m free-spirited, independent, intelligent, solid and liberated. That means if I like a guy, I can ask him out. If I do, he gets scared and runs. If I wait to be asked out, I’m selfish. After all, I earn as much as he does, I can foot the bill too!

If I wait to be courted, I get bored. Some guys take way too long to gather courage to ask out the 21st century female – she’s too intimidating! But if I ask him out, I’m branded desperate. If I say I like him, he walks all over me. If I don’t he can’t get enough of me! If he does choose to chase me, he gets bored as soon as he catches me. Cookie-jar theory – you only want the cookie when you can’t have it. And if I chase him, all I’ll do is keep fit, coz he’ll run so scared that ‘ll never catch him.

If I have too many headaches, I tempt him to cheat. If I never have headaches, I’m a ‘bad girl’ and should slow down. After all, the girl men love to date isn’t always the girl they want to marry.

The 21st century hasn’t changed biology. Men are still basically providers, it’s just that now, women can help pay the bills. Women are still basically nurturers, it’s just that men can now change diapers and napkins. But at the end of the day if you want the relationship to work, you have to stick with the basics.

A wise friend told me if you provide for your man, he may appreciate it, but he’ll find somewhere else to be a provider. And if your woman rules you, she may be honoured, but she’ll find someone else to submit to. Provision and submission comes with limits. You do not provide to the point of belittling, and you don’t submit to the point of being a doormat. These extremes are spousal abuse, plain and simple.

Meanwhile, no means no and yes means yes. Period. Abuse that at your own risk, and never use abuse as an excuse to hurt someone. So if anyone sees Abas, tell him to take the hint and leave me alone!!!

Patience, my Love

November 1, 2007 –

Patience my love, patience
We tried so long to put a mark on our love
To find a place to touch, a place to hold
Patience my love, patience

One month along, I’m sick, I’m sore, I hurt.
Three months along, my tummy feels a bump
Three months to go. A little girl. She moves!
and soon our Little Love we’ll have and hold
Patience my love, patience.

Heaven has lost an angel.
Two months more, she’s ours,
but heaven wants her back.
We’ll see her again, if we can just have
patience my love, patience.

Just following orders

December 11, 2007 –

Suppose I did something bad. No, scratch that. Suppose I was told to do something bad. Suppose this bad thing was part of my job description. Suppose it was business as usual. Suppose my sixth sense hinted that I shouldn’t do this. But suppose I didn’t realize the impact until later. Does that make me bad?

The CIA destroyed interrogation tapes that shouldn’t have been destroyed. The tapes contained torture that shouldn’t have happened. Whose fault is it?

Is it the terrorist who hurt people, so called the torture on himself? Is it the president who sanctioned “use of force” without explaining how far is too far – the very same president whose policies got people angry enough to turn terrorist? Is it the interrogator who ‘did what he had to do to get results’ [did he get them?] Is it the boss who told him “Get me names, I don’t care how you do it.”

Is it the CIA boss who gave orders to destroy those tapes to protect everybody? Is it the person who physically destroyed the tapes? Is it anyone’s fault?

Suppose refusing to do what I was ordered would cost me my job, and suppose doing it didn’t directly hurt anyone. I still knew it was wrong, and I didn’t want to do it, but I did it anyway. I did my job. Does that make me wrong? Well, it doesn’t make me feel better. And it doesn’t bring back those CIA tapes.

It doesn’t  resurrect all the soldiers who die for wars they never started, and sometimes don’t believe in. It doesn’t heal all the victims of terror, including the hurting, gullible, angry children who are brainwashed into becoming terrorists! It doesn’t console war veterans who were wounded in wars where they believed they were doing the right thing, only to get home and be victimized for doing their jobs.

It doesn’t help people who are forced to bully others, hurt others, rape others, kill others, hire others…fire others – in war, in monolization, in gangs, in the office. It doesn’t make them feel any better, or any less guilty because they were forced to do it.

Following orders doesn’t make it okay. But does it make me ‘wrong’? When I have my orders, and the orders are evil, then by following instructions, am I right or wrong? People say the law is an ass, but it’s still the law. So when that law is used to hurt and destroy people, is it still okay to live by it?

Sometimes doing the ‘right’ thing really, really really sucks.

Give me an inch, and I’ll take a few kilometres

December 11, 2007 –

That’s the sad fact about human nature. You give the average person a slight gap and they’ll stretch it for all it’s worth. You’re nice to someone, and rather than appreciate it, they find ways to use it.

That’s why the ‘meek’ often become doormats.  On the other hand, if you’re mean to people, they use that as an excuse to mistreat you. So the ‘proud’ girls who reject a man are labelled bitchy and become targets of abuse, and even attack. Never mind that generous girls attract just as much name-calling.

The nice people in soaps suffer forever, while the nasty ones get all the goodies. And sadly, when the good people stop suffering, we stop watching and the show ends. Says a lot about the world’s mentality, doesn’t it? Kind of scary when you think about it.

So the question becomes – do I talk tough and learn to fight? Or do I play nice, and get walked all over?

I guess it depends on who’s calling your shots. People say cheaters don’t win, and winners don’t cheat. Clearly, ‘people’ don’t watch Supersport. On planet earth, the bad guys always win. Sad, but true. Doing the right thing doesn’t get you very far in this life. That’s why nobody under 50 wins the nobel prize (and the millions that come with it! No offense, but at seventy, I don’t really need millions…) So if you’re all about the here and now, do what you have to do.

But if you have half a brain, you’ve thought about the big ‘what if’. What if there’s life after death? What if God really does exist? What if He really will judge our lives on earth? What happens when we die?

If you don’t believe in God – the one true God – well, I can only pray for you. But deep down we all do. A belief in God is an intrinsic as sin. It’s why we all worship something while we search for the real thing, the only thing, and I don’t mean Coca Cola. It’s why all religions have supreme being(s), even if the supreme being is self.

It’s why atheists are so stubborn – to be so insistent that something doesn’t exist, you have to believe it does. It’s like when you keep telling yourself “I’m fine. I’m not crazy. I’m not insane.” when nobody is really asking. As Ronnie says, the guilty run when no-one is chasing them.

So, everyone has heard of Jesus, some people believe in Him. Just about everyone agrees He was the nicest guy that ever lived. I know He was more than a nice guy who could do a few magic tricks like duplicating fish and bread and levitation. And for all His niceness, he was tortured and executed.

Most religions preach “treat others as you would like to be treated.” The world preaches “Do unto others before they do unto you.” The world thinks only of itself, but the soul lives on after death.

So it’s really up to you.  You could choose to do the right thing and risk suffering and ‘failing’. You’ll have Jesus, Gandhi and Karma on your side, peace of mind (probably emptiness of pocket) and you won’t be reincarnated as a fly.

Or you could step on others to get ahead, like everyone else does. But I have to tell you, that nice car, great job, lovely social standing won’t last forever; and I’d hate to wear your designer shoes in the afterlife. And as Draco says, ‘everyone else’ is overrated.

Some forwards actually make sense!

December 7, 2007 –

So I break my rule and share them. And yes, I have used EVERY ONE OF THEM!!!


1. Fine : This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2. Five Minutes : If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3. Nothing : This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4. Go Ahead : This is a dare, not permission. Don’t Do It!

5. Loud Sigh : This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6. That’s Okay : This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7. Thanks : A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you’re welcome.

8. Whatever : Is a women’s way of saying F@!K YOU!

9. Don’t worry about it, I got it : Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking ‘What’s wrong?’ For the woman’s response refer to #3.

The hardest tongue twister in English…

December 6, 2007 –

…and this isn’t because of my surname!

sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick

Go on…try it!

Well? Okay, here’s one I can actually say:

The rat ran along the river carrying a raw lump of liver.

Yeah, it’s been that kind of a day. I got this cute forward with 37 little known facts. For example, cigarette lighters were invented before matches. The electric chair was invented by a dentist. [duh!]

I like this one. American airlines (apparently) saved 40,000 USD in 1987 by eliminatiing one olive from each salad they served in first class…either olives are really expensive, or those dudes in first class eat a LOT of olives…

All polar bears are left handed…they have hands? How did they test this exactly…with a fork and a pencil? Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump. And we know this because we said “Jump Dumbo!’ Um…maybe they just don’t understand English?

Ants always fall on their right side when drunk. Hmm. Some PhD scientist got paid to give ants booze and watch the result – several times.

On average, people are more scared of spiders than death. Yes. two words : Black Widow.

A snail can sleep for three years. Um, so can I…if my boss would just let me. Pretty pleeeaaase!

You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath. All mothers with toddlers, rejoice, they’ll be fine after they turn purple – and Dr Spock says you can stop them by blowing in their faces or sprinkling some water on them…the toddlers I mean.

Coca cola was originally green. Hm. No comment.

I need to go home now. Clearly.


December 5, 2007

Did you watch that movie? Robin Williams is a mad, absent-minded scientist who invents this gooey green stuff that bounces around the room at gremlin speed. [oh, and his robot-assistant creates a sexy hologram that he falls in lust with]

I feel a bit like flubber trapped in a glass jar- all bouncy and restless and nowhere to go. It’s a classic effect of quarter-life crisis. I can see through the jar, I can see the places I want to be. But I have no idea how to get there. I might be able to tip the jar over and break it, but I’m tired all the time – another effect of QLF.

Plus breaking the jar could get me some cuts and bruises that are hard to heal – and I have a phobia for pain. That – and my wallet’s perpetual diet – is the only reason I don’t have a tattoo…yet.

Could someone loan me a time machine? I need to speed the clock to thirty.

Or better yet, sell it to me, coz I’m sure in a few years time, I’ll be whining about how I long to be 25 !

Ching ching

December 5, 2007 –

Trapped in a cage of my own making
Fenced in by ambition
The longing of my ears for that heavenly sound…
Ching ching!

I sit chained to a desk
Staring down at miles of writing
That dances on the page

Sensing my importance
Knowing I’m doing good, making a difference
Pleasing my bosses
Killing my heart

I stare out of the windows
And in my mind I hear
“This is DJ Ding
spinning the tracks and rocking the stones.”
…my true calling

The phone rattles me awake
An earthly calling
For my new book

I gaze at my stripes
Study my dates
Wonder how long I’ll be a slave to sense

Do not disturb!

December 3, 2007 –

We can learn a lot of life lessons from the garden of Eden – some good, some bad. For example – the best way to get someone to do something is to tell them not to. If you look at anything long enough, it will start to look attractive. A good way to avoid temptation is to stay away from it – hence we pray “Lead me not into temptation” as opposed to “help me overcome temptation.” If you’re told not to go somewhere, it’s probably a bad idea to stand staring at the “do not enter” sign.

Some people say the best way to overcome temptation is to give in to it. True, that will make the temptation stop. But then again, that’s why so many people are dying of AIDS.

I can’t talk about Eden, or why Eve ate that fruit, or why Adam listened to his wife, or whether or not all females should be victimized for that, or why God put the tree there in the first place [or even if it really was a tree!]. Those are questions I’ll save for heaven. My point here is the lessons learnt.

Marriage is hard, relationships are hard. But one thing makes them harder – outsiders. Lots of good realtionships have been ruined by well-meaning interference.

By the time a couple get together, they have faced tons of hurdles. Breaking the language barrier between Mars and Venus; overcoming myths from friends are relatives; learning to accept differences; getting over the ‘happily ever after theories’. But they’re not out of the woods yet. Couples have to learn how to maintain their union, how to keep it tennis, and I’m not talking gymnastics this time.

Most creation myths start with a couple – two people. No other humans in the world. No friends, no in-laws, no siblings, no shengas. There’s probably a good reason for that. Usually, the problem doesn’t start until other people come into it.

Couples are made up of TWO PEOPLE. So no matter how helpful your best friends, or mother or girls club, or boys group, or nosy aunts are – it should only be about the two of you. Couples would save themselves a lot of grief if they learnt to live by this. We’d all love to help out couples with our ‘experience’, but the best wedding gift is a big sign that reads “do not disturb”.

Take advice, listen to others, but when it comes to actual living as a couple, whether dating or beyond, keep it tennis.

Screeeaaammm!!!!! (a dedication to the nurses – and the spider lady)

November 28, 2007 –

I want to crawl into a hole.

What would I do there?

Yell my lungs out of course!

No one would hear me,

so no one can tell me to shut up.

I don’t care if I burst them-

who needs lungs

when I can grow gills?

I want a shell.

What on earth for?

So I can croak when I shower

and all people will hear

are the sounds of the distant sea.

I want to fly to the moon.


Then I can stand alone,

watch the sea, and the sky,

…and the stars

and those who think I’m mad

will be too far away to bother me.

I want a submarine.


(For my sailor…)

and because I can’t have what I really want-

a bucket full of icy water

in which to dip my head.

But most of all,

I want to


Kiss from a rose

November 26, 2007 –

Some compare her to a kiss from a rose

on a grave.

And indeed, some call her so

– only in whispers – she must never hear,

nor her wrathful lovers.

I beg to agree,

for my love did,

and I never refute him.

On what grave I don’t know,

but she drove me to mine when she kissed him.

Her kiss is deep, pure passion;

espousing desire, invoking desire,

mocking my wifely touch.

Her kiss woke the heart of my love.

Her kiss woke the loins of my love.

I don’t know how she kissed him, or why.

He didn’t say, and I didn’t ask –

it’s not my place.

I turn in my grave, knowing no peace,

for I am not alive,

but I’m far from death.

My misery is potent.

My corpse feeds a rose

that grows in the dirt above me.

Her thorns are sharper than the claws of death

that will not shield me;

she dances on my grave

and pricks me still.

14th November, 2007: I’m not ready yet

So I’ve just hit another milestone. And guess what. I’m not ready yet.

You spend your life wanting something, longing for something, hoping for something. Then you get it and you realise you don’t really want it. It’s not what you expected. It’s not going how you planned. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. And in the end, you’re just not ready for it.

My daughter’s teeth are shaking – all four of them – and she’s barley five! That means she’s a big girl now. Which means I’m old! I’m not ready to be old. I still have too much to do. This isn’t in the script. According to the plan, I was to be a lot farther by the time I had to start tying strings to shaky teeth and attaching them to doors, stones – and cheeky babies. I was kind of hoping for a car.

But are we ever really ready? Is there really a right time to fall in love, get married, have a baby, get that promotion? Or do the powers that be just have an awesome sense of humour?All I know is that it never seems like the right time, but God’s timing is always perfect. We make all these grand plans to do amazing things, to start fabulous projects, to have ultimate weddings…then it rains. And God blindsides you with an unexpected child, lover or job, and you end up being brilliant at it.

I know I can handle this, I know I’m equipped, I know I’m qualified, I know I can do this and do it well (how hard is it to pull out a few teeth? Dentists do it every day!) But the truth is, I’m just not ready. Not yet.

29th November 2007 – we are not our kids…

…and they are not us.

Lots of people think of their children as smaller versions of themselves. So they expect their kids to think like them and to want the same things they do. Too many parents make their kids live out [the parent’s] dream. You know, I couldn’t be a doctor so I make my child go to med school. How often have you heard a parent say “I’ll teach him evrything I know”?

Our children do have our DNA and often our looks and manners. I get jazzed (and sometimes annoyed) when I see my daughter do or say stuff I did as a kid, but I realize that doesn’t make her me.

What’s all this about? My little princess wants a dinner dress. A silly, lacy, fluffy, flowery, girly dress. The kind I hated at her age, and wouldn’t be caught dead in. Usually, she likes to wear stuff that looks like mine, so most weekends we can be found in matching jeans or spaghetti tops. But suddenly the child has fashion sense!

She’s no longer my shadow. These days when we go somewhere, she goes exploring and only peeps back to see if I’m following. Suddenly it’ s me who’s always looking for her! It’s began! Pretty soon I’ll have to start making appointments to get her time! My little girl is growing up. And she’s barely five! But life is tough these days, and independence is good.

So here I am, shopping for a little pink dress with red flowers and ribbons, and counting the days to teenage.

Celebrating e-love…or something like that…

March 12, 2008 –

A little boy goes to his father and asks “Daddy, how was I born?” The father answers, “Well, son, I guess one day

you will need to find out anyway!  Your Mom and I first got together in a chat room on Yahoo.  Then I set up a date via e-mail with your Mom and we met at a cyber-cafe.  We sneaked into a secluded room, where your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive.  As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button, nine months later a little Pop-Up appeared that said:

“You got Male!”

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